What an Accelerated 2020 Census Count Could Mean for Your Wallet | theSkimm

The gov has been keeping count of everyone living in the US since the Founding Fathers were in charge. But like everything else in 2020, the census looks a little different this year.

Back in April, the Census Bureau said they’d need extra time to collect data because the pandemic delayed things. This week, they said 'nevermind, we’ll finish up in September.' As in, a month earlier than planned. 

Some worry that reversal could lead to an undercount – especially among minorities, immigrants, and other typically undercounted groups. Here’s what that could mean for your wallet.

Your state might miss out on money. Census data helps determine how federal dollars are allocated for roads, schools, hospitals, and more. Kinda important. If money isn’t divvied up accurately, some areas could get more while others get less. That domino effect could result in less-than-ideal infrastructure, like more crowded highways, fewer adult education opportunities, and lower public safety spending.

You may not be able to do as much comparison shopping. Companies use census data to pick what inventory to stock and where to expand operations. This could impact everything from what products show up on your grocery store’s shelves to whether banks open new branches in your hood.

Your salary could change. Businesses also use census data to make hiring and payroll decisions. Skewed data might make those calculated decisions a little harder. Which could hit you where it really counts: your paycheck.

theSkimm: The road to the 2020 Census has been bumpy. See: drama over adding a citizenship question and multiple deadline changes. If there is an undercount in your area, your hometown might not get the funding it needs to thrive. Meaning now could be a good time to top off your savings account. Juuust in case.