FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Courtney Stewart
Missouri Foundation for Health
Regional Leaders Gather to Discuss Strategy to
“Get Out the Count” for the 2020 Census
ST. LOUIS, MO (May 23, 2019) – On May 31, representatives from a variety of sectors including nonprofit, business, and governmental organizations will meet to discuss strategies to promote an incredibly important event that’s less than a year away – the 2020 Census. The St. Louis Regional Census Convening, held at the United Way of Greater St. Louis, will help galvanize regional leaders to promote broader buy in from their communities. Hosted by the St. Louis Census Funders Working Group, speakers will include business and nonprofit leaders, grassroot organizations, as well as representatives from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles. The featured speaker will be United States Census Bureau Regional Director Marilyn Sanders.
The St. Louis Census Funders Working Group is led by Missouri Foundation for Health and includes United Way of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Community Foundation, Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis, St. Louis Senior Fund, Gateway Center for Giving, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, and Incarnate Word Foundation.
Prior to the convening, MFH and its partners circulated an open letter for CEOs and other prominent individuals from across the region to sign, pledging their support to help “get out the count.” So far 31 individuals and organizations have committed, and the list continues to grow. Read the full letter here.
The U.S. conducts a census every 10 years to collect important demographic information about the country’s population. This data is used to ensure states are being fairly represented, both in the allotment of federal dollars as well as the number of congressional districts. “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of getting an accurate count for the 2020 Census,” said Bob Hughes, president and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health. “It is the basis for the allocation of funding for federal health programs and helps define the geography of community-based services. As a health foundation we have to do everything we can to spread the word.”
The federal funds driven by census estimates go toward programs aimed at supporting Missouri infrastructure and communities. Low participation in the 2020 Census could have substantial negative consequences for the state. As a result of the 2010 Census, Missouri lost a congressional seat and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. For every person undercounted in 2010, Missouri forfeited an estimated $1,200 in federal dollars.
The 2020 Census faces several challenges that could prevent an accurate and complete count, including reliance on new technology, planning delays, and the possible addition of the citizenship question. During the 2010 Census, 9 percent of Missouri’s population lived in communities considered hard-to-count. Households most at risk of being undercounted include those who are low income, renters, people of color, young children, and immigrants. The new online platform also presents hardships for the roughly 20 percent of Missouri households that lack access to broadband and may face issues with submitting an online census form.
Missouri Foundation for Health has additional Census 2020 messaging plans in the works. The Foundation will also offer grantmaking opportunities to support targeted outreach in hard-to-count populations.
To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit mffh.org/census.