It impacts funding. How much does our state get from the federal government for transportation, education, and health? How is it distributed within the state? Will one county need more than another?
It impacts state-level representation. Who will we be working with? Who will our representatives be? Does our representation look like our state? Do we still have champions and allies?
It can shift our broader priorities. Social determinants of health are big tent issues. What if the Census tells us we’re more educated than ever but housing is a problem? What if the Census tells us we have a rapidly growing population of immigrants from a specific country? We have the opportunity to make new friends and allies! We get to meet our state exactly where we are.
It can hone our focus. A state with a small population of youth, low income people, or certain people of color may experience tobacco very differently than we do. A town with a lot of children or an aging population may experience food security very differently. A growing suburb may have different transportation needs than a rural community. The Census can help us focus.
It helps us tell our stories. We need data and examples to craft our messages, and the census gives us that data.