Every 10 years, the U.S. Census generates a critical snapshot of America. This critical tool —which aims to count every person in the country — helps leaders and organizations assess progress, plan for the future, make political decisions and improve the lives of kids and families.

Policymakers also use census data — both the total population count and population characteristics — to allocate about 1.5 trillion federal dollars to the states. These funds fuel more than 100 programs, such as Head Start, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.