Press Release

February 13, 2020
America’s entrepreneurs, small business can count on the census to build success: Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin

Census Day on April 1, will mark the beginning of our nation’s decennial population survey, which will determine Congressional representation and the allocation of more than $1.5 trillion in annual federal funding to programs that keep Americans safe, train workers and provide families with housing and food assistance.

The census also plays a lesser-known role in American society: it provides American entrepreneurs with free, high-quality information that allows them to gauge markets, assess costs, and make decisions about when to expand and hire workers. Ensuring that our national snapshot is accurate and complete will require the participation of all American residents, both citizens and noncitizens, and it will take an army of information collectors to make sure that no individual or business goes uncounted.

All businesses use data to make decisions about how to operate and grow. But while large companies have access to expensive consultants and private statistical databases to plan for the future, small businesses typically cannot access these costly services.

Historically, the census has been comprehensive, consistent, and, most importantly, reliable; it has empowered entrepreneurs to make growth projections, determine the market for their products and services, and find good employees.

Every successful business plan built on strong publically available data is a testament to the importance of the census for our nation’s prosperity.

Additionally, the census helps the Small Business Administration create effective programs and policies to support American small businesses.

It helps Small Business Development Centers develop growth plans to support the entrepreneurs who walk through its doors; it lets SBA know which communities are in need of additional veteran-focused business services; it shows which areas of the country face significant roadblocks to start and sustain a new business.

Without accurate census data, small businesses, policymakers and entrepreneurial resource providers would be acting blindly instead of targeting dollars where they are most effective and beneficial.

Accurate census data are especially important in my home state of Maryland, which boasts the highest concentrations of women- and minority-owned small businesses in America. While all small businesses rely on census data, it is especially important for entrepreneurs in underserved communities, who have a harder time securing business loans, report lower annual receipts, and have lower rates of business survival.

Fortunately for entrepreneurs in Maryland and nationwide the census gives them the capacity to make informed decisions that increase their chances of success.

For a Black female entrepreneur in Maryland with very little margin for error, the success of her venture can hinge on something as simple as the city block she chooses to locate her business or the ZIP codes she chooses to market to.

Fortunately for entrepreneurs in Maryland and nationwide the census gives them the capacity to make informed decisions that increase their chances of success.

Almost 250 years later, we now have the capability to employ the census in ways that would have been inconceivable when our nation came into being.

Despite these advancements and the enormous potential they have unleashed, one thing has not changed: a comprehensive census that is conducted fairly and accurately makes our democracy stronger and helps our people thrive.