Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds

October 12, 2018

As directed by Congress, several hundred federal financial assistance programs rely on data derived from the Decennial Census to guide the geographic distribution of funds to states, counties, cities, and households. To better understand the fiscal impacts of the upcoming 2020 Census on states and local areas, the Counting for Dollars Project aims to:

  • identify each federal program that geographically distributes financial assistance                                                                    based, in whole or part, on data derived from the Decennial Census; and
  • ascertain the connection between Decennial Census accuracy and the                                                                              equitable distribution of funds to states and local areas.
The distribution in FY2015 by state of $590 billion from 16 large federal financial assistance programs based on data derived from the 2010 Census.
Determination of the fiscal costs of a decennial census undercount on state treasuries for five U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs that use the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which is based on the 2010 Census population count. In FY2015, FMAP-determined reimbursements to and payments from state governments totaled $286.1 billion. 
#3 35 Large Census-guided Financial Assistance Programs (forthcoming)
            The distribution in FY2016 by state of $844 billion from 35 large federal financial assistance programs based on data derived from the 2010 Census.
#4 Federal Programs that Geographically Allocate Financial Assistance Based on Decennial Census Data (forthcoming)
A complete listing of all federal financial assistance programs that rely on census-derived data to allocate funding to geographic areas. Data for the nation only.


2020 Census: How the Count Affects State Budgets

Presented to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) annual conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 23, 2018

Counting For Dollars: A Study of Census-guided Financial Assistance to Rural America

Presented to the Congressional Rural Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, October 11, 2018