Responding to the Census will help plan health care programs for the next decade

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Posted July 27, 2020 | Supplied from The United States Census Bureau

Hospitals, health care clinics, and health care programs such as Medicaid, the need-based health insurance program for low-income people, and Medicare for people over age 65 are among the many public health care services that use population statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Results from the 2020 Census underway now will help federal, state, local and tribal officials plan funding for health care services for the next decade.

Health care companies also can use population statistics to help plan where to build new hospitals and clinics or expand existing ones.

Statistics from the 2020 Census will inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are spent every year for the next 10 years for these and other critical public services such as schools, libraries, emergency response, roads and bridges and for hospitals and health insurance.

The good news is that responding to the census has never been easier. People can now respond online at, by phone or by completing/mailing back paper questionnaires.

Census takers are set to visit households that do not respond later this summer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home restrictions around the country, the Census Bureau has adapted its operations and extended some deadlines to give everyone more time to respond before census takers begin knocking on doors. The U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, has asked Congress to extend some 2020 Census deadlines.

“While the current situation with the COVID-19 virus can make it hard to think about the future, the once-a-decade census that counts everyone who lives in the U.S. is exactly what enables governments and communities to plan for these types of crises,” said Steven Dillingham, director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “That’s why it is so important to respond to the 2020 Census as soon as you can.”

Health Care – A Community Lifeline

Health care programs informed by census statistics touch everyone from the old to the young, people of all incomes and backgrounds, and those in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

Many of these programs are the lifelines that communities are depending on today as they work to protect the health and well-being of their populations during the coronavirus pandemic. These programs are feeding children even though schools are temporarily shuttered, providing health insurance for low-income people and those over 65, and supporting first responders.

Among these programs, according to the Census Bureau:

  • Medicaid assistance under Title XIX, the largest federal program that uses census statistics to inform funding.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
  • The National School Lunch Program.
  • Medicare.

Population Trends Key to Health Care Services

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for low-income kids, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the larger federal health programs that uses census population stats. The federal government spent $4.2 billion on the program in 2015, according to a 2017 study by the Census Bureau.

Some other health programs that use census statistics for planning:

  • Maternal and child health
  • Abstinence education
  • Violence Against Women
  • Preventative health services

Health care is a vital service, in times of good health and bad, in the present and the future. Responding to the 2020 Census can help ensure the health of the services people need to stay healthy.

Learn more and respond today at

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