There’s still time, but time is running out… That is, to complete your response to the 2020 Census. The U.S. Census Bureau, amid the coronavirus pandemic, has moved the deadline to Sept. 30, a month earlier than previously announced.

Tim Herman
Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

If you have already completed the 10-question survey, thank you. However, if you have not, I implore you to do so, now. Do it for yourself, your family, your community and your business because the census affects billions of dollars of funding for health care, education and businesses.

More than 40 percent of Michigan’s budget comes from federal funds allocated by census data. For every person not counted, the state misses out on $1,800 per person per year for 10 years; and when 20 percent of Genesee County’s population are either hard to reach or have migrated elsewhere, that adds up fast.

An accurate 2020 Census will help fuel a thriving economy, and this becomes even more important as we work toward recovery from the devastating effects of COVID-19. Data from the census helps determine where businesses choose to invest and build new facilities, where to open a new store or office and what items to offer on shelves. For example, Target and other retailers use the census to determine what products to stock at each store.

In addition, census data is used to distribute grants for economic development and make the case for additional resources needed; and, determine where developers build homes and revitalize neighborhoods. The National Association of Home Builders provides builders and remodelers with housing market information based on census data including home values, income, and number of homeowners and renters in an area.

It also ensures that our region receives its share of funding to provide critical services including health care, K-12 education, housing, and infrastructure and public works support.

If Flint and Genesee County does not get an accurate count, this could weaken our voice in Washington, D.C. Every 10 years, census results are used to divide the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states. The higher a state’s population count, the stronger its representation will be. Michigan needs a strong voice in Congress now more than ever.

The Chamber is committed to helping the Flint & Genesee region get an accurate count to help business and government make informed decisions and invest in our communities. Business owners and leaders can help achieve an accurate count by encouraging their employees and customers to complete the questionnaire before the Sept. 30 deadline.  Check the Chamber’s website for a Census Toolkit or the 2020 Census website for support materials.

Remember, we all rely on each other so let’s not let each other down.