How the 2020 Census Can Impact the St. Louis Region

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of each person living in the United States. The 2020 census is critical to achieving positive enhancements within the regional business landscape. Throughout the business community, an accurate census count is utilized to develop accurate commercial databases, private market analysis, as well as demographic and economic data.

Over $900 billion in federal funding by more than 300 programs is allocated based on these counts to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources. Undercounted areas pose a risk in acquiring these federal funds, as there is an increased opportunity for inaccurate counting. The total cost to states of each uncounted person can’t be precisely estimated; however, encouraging full regional participation in the census will ensure that each county receives its fair share of federal funding.   

An inaccurate census count hinders our capability to optimize federal funding sources and prohibits us from enhancing resources for Illinoisans and Missourians alike. Total federal funding based on census counts was worth $55.9 billion in Illinois and $28.5 billion in Missouri in 2017. There is a wide range of estimates for potential census undercounts with 99,000 in Illinois and 19,000 in Missouri under a medium risk scenario. 

An accurate census count also gives states the ability to retain and advance congressional seats. Missouri is forecasted to retain 8 congressional seats and Illinois is expected to reduce representation from 18 to 17 per data from the Election Data Services. Having increased representation in congress gives Missouri and Illinois businesses the ability to tackle regulatory hurdles impacting economic and workforce growth in the region.

A definitive count throughout the St. Louis region will give us the opportunity to advocate more extensively with our federal delegation.

The decennial census impacts calculations and decisions surrounding:

  • The national employment rate
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation rates
  • Exports
  • The Consumer Price Index
  • Housing sales
  • Construction figures
  • Startup viability 
  • Funding for roads and bridges
  • Funding for health care centers and hospitals
  • Funding for schools


How Your Business Can Help

Adequate funding is critical to determine our federal and state budget allocations. It is crucial that our census data reflect our actual population numbers to identify legitimate fiscal appropriations.

Companies throughout the St. Louis region can help engage employees and encourage customers to participate in the census, including areas identified as difficult to reach.

Businesses can assist in obtaining an accurate count via social media marketing, customer outreach, and internal employee communications. Through collaboration within our business community, Missouri and Illinois could have the potential to inform hard-to-count populations such as young children, rural households, and minority communities.

Census data accounts for a large portion of how your business operates and how your employees live their day to day lives. By working hand-in-hand, businesses and citizens can help restart the momentum our region was experiencing and receive more dollars for health care, education, and transportation.

Read Regional Chamber President & CEO Tom Chulick's op-ed on why the business community must rally around the 2020 census.

We have an obligation to ensure that the hard earned-tax dollars Missouri and Illinois residents send to Washington, D.C. make their way back to our communities. We're now calling on you to step up and be counted!

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