El Paso campus and partners awarded funds to "get out the count" for 2020 census

To make sure historically undercounted populations along the Texas-Mexico border are included in the 2020 census, faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) are joining forces with the U.S. Census Bureau, community health workers, and local organizations to launch a collaborative campaign in the El Paso region.

The initiative was unveiled today in a press conference at UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso announcing the university has received a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to support complete count efforts in Texas. Every 10 years, as mandated by the Constitution, the Census Bureau conducts a count of the population within the United States and its five territories. UTHealth is one of 27 Texas organizations to receive funding to support census participation.

Census Photo SIZED
El Paso Campus School of Public Health faculty with partners.

Those defined as hard-to-count are individuals not typically captured by census data, such as children under the age of 5, highly mobile people, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income individuals, persons experiencing homelessness, undocumented immigrants, and people with mental health conditions. Many of the hard-to-count populations live in health professional shortage areas in Texas, so an accurate count is crucial to closing the gap of what health care is available to support the well-being and mental health of those living in these communities.

The grant will help support participation in communities in El Paso and Hudspeth counties along the U.S. and Mexico border, which have some of the most underserved communities in the state. The numbers collected help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on public services such as hospitals and health clinics, emergency response, schools and education programs, and roads and highways. These statistics also determine political representation in Congress.

As part of the Texas Communities Count initiative, UTHealth will work with local and regional organizations including El Paso Coalition for the Homeless, Project Vida Health Center, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, the City of Socorro, and the Rio Grande Council of Governments to ensure an accurate and complete census.