2020 census critical to supporting teachers, students and schools

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The 2020 census deadline is now just three weeks away.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of Wednesday, 88% of American households have been counted so far.

READ MORE: Make yourself count in the 2020 census

Plus, Texas is lagging behind, ranking 37th in the nation for response rate and only 85.9% of Texans have completed the census.

In Harris County, the number is far worse with only 60% of households responding compared to neighboring Fort Bend County with a 72% response rate.

READ MORE: What is the 2020 census? Date, deadline and other things to know

"Yeah, that's pretty scary. I am a bit worried, " said Zeph Capo with the American Federation of Teachers in Houston. "Without good census data, frankly, we're hurting ourselves."

Capo said our local schools rely on assistance from federal dollars, which is handed out based on population.

That money pays for everything from building a new school to filling it with supplies, teachers and services.

"Our teachers, our wrap-around specialists, our librarians, our support personnel, who are able to help with mental health, our health specialists who are able to help with the public school system," explained Capo.

READ MORE: Advocates urging immigrants to fill out census forms in Houston

In addition, all the technology handed out for virtual learning this year was paid in part by federal dollars allocated from the 2010 census.

"If we're not counting everybody within our community, some other community is going to count them and they're doing to get the funding, [and] they're going to get the support," said Capo.

Organizations like the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials are now sending home flyers with students and reminding parents at home there are four ways to respond to the census.

  • Speak to an agent in one of 13 different languages by phone at 1-844-330-2020.
  • You can complete the 10-minute survey by mail or speak with a census field worker when they knock on your door.


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