The U.S. Constitution requires a complete count of every person living in the country once every ten years. Census results determine tne distribution of billions of dollars of federal funds to states and communities, and determine how many seats in congress each state gets. The count from the 2020 Census will last for the next decade, so an undercount would be detrimental to RI in a variety of ways.
RI receives $3.8 billion in federal funding each year, approximately one third of the State's annual budget. An undercount will affect the allocation of this money, and have an impact on funding for services affecting highways, public safety, schools, and hospitals, as well as programs like Medicaid, public housing and SNAP.
RI is at risk of losing a Congressional seat if population growth is slower than in other states; a complete count will help ensure RI maintains its representation in congress.
Census data is used to inform decision-making in a variety of areas, including economic development projections and investments, and the allocation of vital services and programs for vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations are both more susceptible to and more negatively affected by an undercount.
Governor Gina Raimondo established the RI Complete Count Committee (RICCC) to develop a Census outreach strategy that will encourage participation in the Census to ensure that RI is not undercounted. The committee is co-chaired by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott,and includes 61 members representing local governments, hard-to-count populations, K-12 education and higher education, youth, the business community, senior citizens, libraries, the healthcare community and more. Learn more about the RICCC, read the RI Census outreach plan, and explore other RI Census resources:
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Rhode Island was the sole location for the US Census Bureau's end-to-end test in Providence county in 2018. Advantages to hosting the test include that the state has been working closely with US Census Bureau staff since 2018, and have been able to create a tailored outreach strategy based on the results. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Rhode Islanders did not know the 2018 test was a test, so a potential challenge could be that Providence County residents may be less inclined to fill out their 2020 Census if they believe they have already completed it.