News | Announcement, Community

Count on Your Health — The Census Matters!

March 4, 2020
Census  3

It only happens once every 10 years, and it’s time again! It’s the US Census, and your participation keeps New York moving. It’s true — the Census helps determine how resources are allocated and spent. Make sure your tax money is going to where it can be best used in our communities.

A full Census count impacts funding for our roads, bridges, subways, schools, programs like Head Start, and food assistance. The Census collects population and demographic information that shapes where federal healthcare dollars go. Ryan Health relies on federal support to see and treat patients with little or no ability to pay.

Overall, Census data is used for two main purposes: (1) to determine how many seats each state gets in the US House of Representatives; and (2) to make decisions about federal spending. New York State receives $73 billion every year in Census-based funding, out of $800 billion in federal funding for the whole country. More than 130 programs are impacted, including:

• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

• Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

• Medicaid and Medicare

• Section 8 and public housing

Some populations are harder to reach, and that can result in an undercount. An undercount means our community will not receive its fair share of funding. Ryan Health cares for hard to count populations, so we want to encourage all of our patients to complete the Census. These populations are most often undercounted:

  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • American Indians
  • Latinos
  • Immigrants
  • People who don’t speak English well
  • Rural residents
  • People with low income
  • Highly-mobile residents, like farmworkers
  • Renters
  • Non-traditional housing residents
  • Very young children, from birth to 4 years old

There is no citizenship question on the Census. Everyone should be comfortable responding. It’s the only way to get an exact count of where people live.

How Does the Census Work?

The Census occurs every 10 years. It counts every person living in the United States, one time, in the place they usually live. Each household is contacted about completing the Census form. It is mandatory to fill out the Census, which you can do by mail, by phone, or online. If a household doesn’t fill out its Census form in time, a government employee with the Census Bureau will follow up in person.

Here’s the timetable from the US Census Bureau:

  • March 12 to March 20: You will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. (You may receive a paper questionnaire.)
  • March 16 to March 24: You will receive a reminder letter.
  • March 26 to April 3: You will receive a reminder postcard if you haven’t responded.
  • April 8 to April 16: You will receive a reminder letter and paper questionnaire if you haven’t responded.
  • April 20 to April 27: You will receive one final reminder postcard if you still haven’t responded.
  • After April 27: The Census Bureau will follow up in person.

The Census matters because the data collected is used as the basis for many of the programs and services our community relies upon. Getting counted makes our communities visible and ensures Ryan Health can provide vital health care services to New Yorkers like you.