What is the census?
The census is a count of all persons living in the United States and five U.S. territories conducted every 10 years.
Why do we take a census?
The United States Constitution states that “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” (Article 1, Section 2)
The census is used to determine the number of Representatives each state receives in the House of Representatives. It is also used to determine federal funding levels for programs at the state and local level, such as housing, transportation, infrastructure, fire, police, EMS, schools, and more.
Why is a complete count so important?
The census determines how many Representatives each state gets. If residents are not accurately counted, our communities will not be properly represented in Congress.
Also, the census is used by the federal government to determine levels of funding for programs. An undercount would deny our communities vital funds that we need for roads, schools, hospitals, programs for the poor, the elderly, and children, and other critical services.
And another thing: companies in many industries use census data to make decisions on where to locate their facilities, so an inaccurate census count could cost us jobs.
It is critically important that all residents including noncitizens are counted.
What can i do to help?
So glad you asked! There are many ways people can help ensure an accurate census.
The first thing you can do is…respond to the census! The easiest way to do this is to complete the census online, and encourage your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others to do the same. Completing the census online will cut down on costs and allow the US Census Bureau to focus on hard-to-count populations. If you forget to complete the online survey, you can complete the paper survey that will be sent. Fill out the survey and mail it back to the Census Bureau. More info will be available in early 2020.
You can also join or Complete Count Committee in your area, or you can host a Census Bureau workshop at your school, place of worship, workplace, or community group. Check out https://www.census.gov/partners/workshops.html for more information!
You can also use your social media to spread the word about the importance of a complete census count. You can find social media materials and other partnership ideas at https://www.census.gov/partners/2020-materials.html.