Why the Census Matters

There’s a lot at stake in the 2020 Census and our community can’t afford an undercount. Essential services throughout Nevada County rely on federal funding that is based on the information collected during the Census.


The 2020 Census count impacts the federal funds that communities receive each year for programs and services that are critical for schools, students, and younger children, such as:

  • Special education, Head Start, after-school programs, and classroom technology.
  • Food assistance, including free and reduced-price school lunches.
  • Maternal and child health programs.


Billions of dollars in federal funds (more than $675 billion) are spent annually on critical transportation services in communities across the country, including maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. The decennial census count will inform spending decisions for the next decade. 

Among the federal programs tied to census statistics are the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Highway Planning and Construction program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants.

The Highway Planning and Construction program helps states plan, build, improve, and maintain their portions of the National Highway System, while funds from Community Development Block Grants are used by communities to build and repair streets, bridges, and alleys. 

Fire & Disaster Response

Many probably never realized that Census data could affect how counties respond to a disaster. It’s true! The information we’re given will help us to better serve you in an emergency or a disaster-situation, as well as secure federal funding for important programs and incentives for residents of Nevada County. However, this data is only as good as the count that is taken during the Census.


Decennial census data provide a population base for dozens of federal surveys. The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program uses census data in combination with birth, death, and migration data to produce annual population and housing unit estimates. These estimates are then used as population controls for the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and many other federal surveys—so that the numbers of housing units and people in certain categories agree with the Census Bureau’s official estimates.

Social Services

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of the more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs. Some of the major federal, state, and local social welfare programs are:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), including Pass through Child Support
  • General Assistance (GA)


Our nation’s future prosperity is shaped in part by the accuracy of the data collected by the Census Bureau on the nation’s population, and on its racial, ethnic and national origin groups.  These data help ensure fair and representative reapportionment and redistricting. They guide a wide range of decisions made in the public and private sectors that affect the lives of all Americans.