Everyone counts. That’s the hope for the 2020 Census. Ever since 1790, the U.S. government has been counting people every 10 years.
Census information will start to be collected in April 2020 that is used by the federal government in a variety of ways.
While people in rural areas are known for having high census return rates, not everyone will fill it out. That’s a shame. The reasons people give for not filling it out are varied. Some people think that it doesn’t impact them. But that’s not true.
Everyone uses roads. Census figures help the federal government decide how many dollars are allocated to a region or state for roads.
Everyone knows a child. The census determines how many free and reduced lunch rates are given to a school district. School districts that have high numbers of free and reduced meal applicants but low census numbers can run into problems. That’s because the school might have a high number of applicants for free and reduced meals, but if not everyone fills out the census, the federal government doesn’t allocate enough funds for free meals.
Sometimes people need to use government services, such as if they are homeless. Again, the census determines allocations.
The census takers don’t care if a person is a citizen or in the country illegally. All they care about is to make sure each person is counted.
Immigrants are traditionally among the lowest numbers to complete census forms. Part of the reason is believed to be because of a distrust of government. And if they are in the country illegally, they fear that the information could be shared with law enforcement.
That doesn’t happen. Any individual working for the census who shares individual information is subject to five years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. It is not only important but essential that the U.S. government knows exactly how many people are in the country.
The results are used to reapportion the House of Representatives and to determine how many seats each state gets. It also is used for redistricting or changing legislative lines to reflect population growth or shifts.
Even businesses use the information to determine where to open places to shop.
To help make sure everyone gets counted, Jerry Hernandez is meeting with Norfolk and county officials. He is working to get a committee formed to promote understanding of the need for it.
The Census doesn’t have money for marketing. Instead, it relies on local grass-roots efforts to make sure everyone gets counted, Hernandez said.
We can all do our part. Fill out the census. The federal dollars are essential for everyone.