In the midst of what has become the most challenging time in recent memory for our city, state, and nation, I would like to emphasize how you, by taking a seemingly small action – completing the 2020 Census – can have a direct and long-lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of our city.

Making sure Madison has a complete count for the 2020 Census will be a key factor as, together, we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking less than 10 minutes now to complete the census for your household will mean 10 years of benefits for our community as a whole. An undercount means we will miss out on our fair share of federal funding for health care, nutrition, affordable housing, transportation, education, and more.

  • Health care is at the top of everyone’s minds. The census count affects funding for Medicaid, Medicare, the State Children’s Insurance Program, health care centers, and other programs that will be critical to our recovery from COVID-19.
  • We are facing unprecedented need for assistance with food. Census data informs distribution of funds to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) for healthy food, and the school breakfast program.
  • Madison has faced enormous challenges with affordable housing and this will only grow with the immediate economic impacts of COVID-19. A bright spot has been the addition of 1,000 affordable housing units over the past five years. Those units have received critical tax credits that are distributed using census data. In a time when we know we need to do even more to add affordable housing, every person counted in the census helps us towards the goal of adding more units.
  • Transit, even in this time of pandemic, remains a critical service that helps essential employees get to and from their jobs. Federal funding is key to operations of Madison Metro and that funding is directly impacted by census population counts. An undercount means less support for transit over the next 10 years.

If you have not yet filled out your census, there is no better time than right now. It can be filled out online – even if you have misplaced your census letter – at Responding by phone is also an option, and can be done in 14 languages. Households that have not yet responded recently received a reminder letter from the Census Bureau that includes a paper form, providing a third way to respond.

Some notes when completing the census:

  • By law, all responses are confidential. There are no questions about citizenship or immigration status.
  • When filling out the census, include everyone that lives in your household.
  • Madison residents who spend their winters elsewhere and college students should all complete the census using their Madison-area address.

Also, if you are looking for a job, consider a temporary position supporting the Census. The Census Bureau is still hiring for 2020 Census jobs that start at $22 per hour in Dane County. These positions will incorporate best practices around social distancing to preserve the health of workers and the community. For more information and to apply visit

Please help the city achieve a complete count by taking the census today and encouraging your friends, family, and colleagues to as well!

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.