Why the Census Matters for Rural America: Defining, Understanding, and Investing in Rural Communities

The decennial census is an unmatched opportunity to capture accurate information about rural America. This information is used to determine which areas are considered rural, to inform other surveys that take a closer look at the characteristics of rural residents, and to make funding decisions for federal programs that serve those residents. All of these uses depend on a fair and accurate census that counts everyone in America once and in the right place. However, limited access to the internet, remote geographies, and significant hard-to-count populations in rural areas make the count challenging. Funders, advocacy groups, community organizations, local governments, and others can and should take steps to address these challenges ahead of the 2020 Census.