The United States Census is a constitutionally-required count of every person living in the United States, and is conducted every ten years. The survey asks questions about everyone who resides and sleeps in a household, including babies and non-permanent dwellers, as of April 1, 2020.
The data collected from the survey makes a critical impact on communities because it determines how and where more than $800 billion in federal funds are spent on programs and services they rely upon. The census population count is also used to determine representation in Congress (known as reapportionment) and the Electoral College. Not responding to the Census jeopardizes Tennessee's representation in Washington. D.C., as well as individuals' representation at the state, local, and district levels, even down to city council districts. Without vital Census information, communities that are undercounted will be disadvantaged. For example, local school districts may not be able to plan effectively for evolving needs if large numbers of young children are not counted, as has been the case in previous censuses. Census data helps local leaders make planning decisions about where municipal services should be located and expanded, and what kinds of services should be offered based on the characteristics of the community.