DARKE COUNTY — It is as important as voting, said Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall on the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, a decennial tradition since 1790. He shared how the Census is imperative to local economies and how everyone should make sure they are counted.
“It is very important to Darke County and the people. This makes you really count,” said Stegall. “It is all about getting an accurate count.”
Why is it imperative everyone is counted? The U.S. Census shapes many different aspects of our communities and affects our daily lives. The results help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding will be distributed. It affects grants, school districts, number of congressional seats, analyzation of local trends, and other determinations of what a community may need.
According to the U.S. Census, an estimated $1,814 in Federal funds is lost for each uncounted person each year for ten years.
Barriers to response include distrust of the government explained Stegall, as well as concerns about privacy or confidentiality. However, the information is confidential with Census takers asking only a few questions such as the number of individuals in the household. By law, your responses cannot be used against you. The Census cannot release any identifiable information about individuals, households, businesses, even to law enforcement agencies.
The Census is a part of the U.S. Constitution, which mandates a headcount every ten years in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the island areas of the U.S.
For the first time in history, Census responses will be accepted online.
“This is the most concerted effort I have ever seen,” said Stegall. A local Complete Count Committee is being formed to make sure, “They get everybody. They need to know this information to help everybody find out where we are going to spend our money and how are we going to spend it.”
The Complete Count Committee will be composed of volunteers to increase awareness and motivate residents to participate.
Starting around March 12, 2020, invitations will be sent to respond via online with some households receiving questionnaires. (Phone and mail are still options). By March 16, reminders will be sent with Census takers going door to door starting in June until the end of July, to those who have not responded.
By Dec. 31, 2020, the Census Bureau will report the results to the President of the United States with the initial data available to the public by 2021.
A few reminders, the Census Bureau will never ask for a Social Security number, bank or credit card account numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.
The Census will need individuals wanting to help in door-to-door counts. Those interested in helping with the Census will be paid for their time and may apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-562-2020.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.