Shape Your Future With The 2020 Census Part 1
By Linda Farneth
Census Officials, Community Leaders and Partners gathered together on April 1 to celebrate and discuss the upcoming 2020 Decennial Census preparations and hold a press conference.
April 1 2019 was the One-Year-Out Kick Off Day to celebrate preparations for the 2020 U.S. Decennial Census. On April 1, 2020 a team of Americans will officially count every human being residing in the U.S. Workers from the Census Bureau will assist individuals in filling out the Decennial Census Form before during and after April 1, 2020.
Something really unique will also happen on April 1, 2020. Every homeless person will be accounted for on that day and their location will be recorded to ensure everyone is counted. People living in special circumstances such as college students, group homes and the military serving will be counted close to that day.
The Decennial Census was mandated by the U.S. Constitution in 1790 and is necessary to help provide statistical data for many different reasons. The most important reason is to ensure everyone is counted and their primary residence is recorded. The data will be collected using names and other identifying information to insure no one is left out or counted twice. After the census is complete however the identifying information will become sealed for 100 years to ensure privacy. The data collected will then be used only statistically to ensure tax dollars are allocated where needed, localities are represented in the house and senate fairly based on the number of residents living there and by many companies and Americans seeking statistical data for research, business forecasting and many other reasons.
The current status of the 2020 Census Operations:
The program is on budget and on schedule. Over 1600 partners and stakeholders are participating in the census operations to help organize and spread the word.
Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director of the 2020 Census said there is strong bipartisan support throughout Federal State and Local Governments. He thanked the Administration and the U.S. Congress for their support in this endeavor.
In 2010 the Census Bureau counted more than 308 million people residing in the U.S.
Dillingham said, “Today a year out from the official census day we couldn’t be more excited. The reason being that we are on mission, on schedule, on budget, on message and on course to complete the biggest and best census ever. Our mission is to count everyone living in the United States, once and only once and in the right place.”
Dillingham listed dramatic improvements and innovations that have been implemented for this decennial census:
- Better technologies and improved processes for canvasing neighborhoods,
- New options for responding to the census, by internet, by phone or by paper.
- More language assistance than ever before
- Expanded and efficient customer service assistance
- More partners and specialists to reach the hard to count populations
- Sophisticated and greatly expanded media campaigns
- Better IT safeguards to ensure confidentiality is not compromised
“The 2020 Census is easy, secure and important,” Dillingham added.
The importance of census data:
“We now live in an information age where accuracy of data improves the quality of our lives and supports our thriving economy.” Dillingham said. “Census data is used directly and indirectly on a daily basis by communities, governments at all levels, by businesses and by people across the country, in making critical decisions and making investments.”
The Decennial Census is the foundation of analysis, decisions, policies, practices and innovations across our nation.
The Federal Government uses census data in allocating more than 675 billion dollars annually. State governments, local governments, businesses and communities use census data in deciding needs and resources.
For example, the Colonial Beach Planning Commission draws on census data to complete demographic information in the creation and updating of the Comprehensive Plan as well as help to determine needs to be included in the Capital Improvement Plan.
Census data is use to determine funding for schools, health systems, social services, infrastructure and safety.
Business use census data to determine economics of a locality and the competitiveness of their chosen product.
The 2020 Census will add the ability to fill out online questionnaires or answer by phone. Those who do not have access to a phone or internet or who just wish to fill out the form the old fashioned way will have the option of filling out the paper form.
Tomorrow we will bring you comments from Albert Fontenot, Associate Director of the 2020 Census. He discussed new improvements being implemented in 2020 to help count more accurately and to make filling out the Census questionnaire easier for non-english speaking residents. Fontenot also discussed how many jobs have been filled, how many more jobs are open and how to apply.