Money·2 min read

Why Census Data Matters for Your Wallet

September 29, 2020

The gov has been taking a headcount of everyone living in the US every 10 years since the OG Hamilton cast was in charge. But this year’s census process has been messy.

What you need to know: After asking for more time to get things done (because COVID-19), the Census Bureau now says they’ll be ready ahead of (the revised) schedule. Some worry rushing could lead to an undercount.

Your move: Educating yourself about how gov decisions affect your personal finances can help you see – and prepare for – what’s coming. Here’s what could happen without accurate census data.

  • Your community might not get the money it needs. Census data helps determine how federal dollars are allocated for roads, schools, hospitals, and more. Without accurate info, money may not be divvied up fairly. Which could translate to things like more crowded highways (read: a longer commute) and fewer education grants (which could mean you’re on the hook for more of your kid’s college tuition).

  • You may not be able to do as much comparison shopping. Census data also helps companies decide what inventory to stock and where to expand operations. This could impact everything from what products show up at your grocery store to whether banks open new branches in your hood. Fewer choices = fewer chances to save.

  • Your local job market could change. Businesses use census data to decide how much staff they need and figure out whether they’re paying competitively. Skewed data might make those calculated decisions a little harder. Which could eventually hit you where it really counts: your paycheck.

theSkimm: The road to the 2020 Census has been bumpy. If there’s an undercount in your area, you and your community could miss out on money.

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