Why is the census important?
Well, let’s see. The census tells the government how many people are living in every community, and those numbers drive a lot of decisions and policies, like:
- how many congressional districts the state will have
- where the people live determine how the districts will get redrawn
- it determines how much federal money flows to the state to use for education, health (think Medicaid), housing, and highways
- it determines where investments in new schools, hospitals, airports, libraries, roads, etc. goes
- emergency responders (in natural disasters and health emergencies like the one we’re experiencing right now) use census info to tackle crises
What are the consequences of an undercount?
If the Census data collection is not effective, it could undercount the US population. A state might not get the extra congressional seat it deserves; school districts might find out too late that they have way more kids than they projected; a community may not receive the welfare services it needs based on its population.
What if I’m concerned about privacy?
By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your individual answers with others, including any other government agency. In fact, to encourage honesty and accurate answers, the law mandates that individual census forms are kept private for 72 years.
How do I take the Census?
The Census Bureau sent out everyone’s invitation to take the Census, and they are hitting homes between March 12-20. (I got mine a couple of days ago.) The letter contains the code you will enter online to take the census. Depending on how many people live in your home, it’ll take between 4-7 minutes to complete it. It’s pretty quick.
So, go through the stack of mail in your house, get the letter out and take the census. Just get it done.
If you have any questions, the main 2020 Census information page can be found HERE.
It’s one more thing you can check off your to-do list!