Get ready: The U.S. Census is coming, and your participation counts

It happens just once a decade, but its outcome can affect all of us for years to come. From March 12 - April 27, 2020, people will receive invitations in the mail to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census. The Census is the federal government’s massive effort to gather information about how many and where people live in the United States. It also includes information about people’s ages, genders, races/ethnicities, income levels, housing and other demographic data.

Yale New Haven Health is one of many organizations partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to encourage participation. Data gathered during the Census determine how much federal funding Connecticut will receive in the future for Medicaid, Medicare Part B, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and other health-related programs. Census data also help determine federal funding levels for programs that address social determinants of health, including education, transportation, employment and nutrition. Based on Census and other data, Connecticut has received over $10 billion annually in federal funding for health and related programs.

“By taking a few minutes to answer Census questions, and encouraging others to do so, we’re supporting our own health and well-being, and that of our loved ones, patients and neighbors,” said Marna Borgstrom, YNHHS CEO.

Information gathered during the Census also:

  • Determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Defines congressional and state legislative districts
  • Defines school districts
  • Provides population benchmarks for nearly every other U.S. survey

There are four ways to respond to the 2020 Census: Online at www.2020census.gov; via a mailed paper survey; by phone, with a U.S. Census Bureau Contact Center interviewer; or during a personal visit with a Census Bureau Regional Office field representative. Census surveys and information will be available in a number of languages.

Just as healthcare organizations are required by law to protect patients’ privacy, the Census Bureau must keep respondents’ specific information secure and private. It does not share names, addresses and other identifiable information with any other government agencies or outside organizations. The information the Census Bureau does release is in the form of statistics, such as the number of people in a certain age range who live in a city, or the percentage of uninsured people in a state.

Information about the Census will be available in various YNHHS delivery network locations, but employees will not be asked to help patients and families complete Census forms.

Watch for more communications about the 2020 U.S. Census, and be sure to complete the questionnaire you receive.