October 15, 2020 was the last day to submit responses for the 2020 United States Census. Now that the data has been collected, what happens next?
First, some history! The first U.S. Census was in 1790. Over 650 United States marshals and assistants gathered information by foot and horseback. They covered the original 13 states, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont and Tennessee. Today, the 2020 Census includes all 50 states and five U.S. territories. For the first time, people were able to respond online, through phone, or mail. So what happens with all of this collected information?
First, the Census Bureau is statutorily required to deliver the counts to the President by December 31, 2020. By April 1, 2021, the Census Bureau must send redistricting counts to each state. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes from the last Census. This requirement is mandated by the United States Constitution.
The results of the Census are also used to help allocate federal funds properly. Examples of places these funds may go include hospitals, fire departments, and school lunch programs.
Finally, the Census population data is used for reapportionment, or number of seats in the House of Representatives, and the number of electors in the Electoral College for elections in 2022 to 2030.
The data that is released as a result of the Census does not include personally identifiable information. The U.S. Census Bureau ensures that your information is protected. However, according to the “72 Year Rule”, the National Records and Archives Administration releases Census information 72 years after it has been collected. Therefore, the 1950 Census information is scheduled to be released in April 2022. This rule originated when life expectancies were lower and could be subject to change before the 2020 Census is set to be released in 2092!