Researchers: 2020 Census guides $1.5 trillion in spending

Researchers say $1.5 trillion in federal funding to state and local governments is parceled out according to census data, much more than previously thought.

The new total shows just how important it is to get the census numbers right every ten years. The same group put out a preliminary estimate of $880 billion in May.

The researchers led by Andrew Reamer at George Washington University say they arrived at the higher figure by using updated data from fiscal year 2017 instead of fiscal year 2016. They also expanded the number of programs under scrutiny from 55 to all 316 federal programs that rely on census-derived data.

Next year's census will also determine how many congressional seats each state gets.