2020 Census: what’s the big deal?

How the upcoming Census affects our area

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 12/16/19

By now, you’ve probably heard of the upcoming 2020 Census, which takes count of the population in an area. But what’s so important of knowing how many citizens live in a county? The short answer …

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2020 Census: what’s the big deal?

How the upcoming Census affects our area

Posted

By now, you’ve probably heard of the upcoming 2020 Census, which takes count of the population in an area. But what’s so important of knowing how many citizens live in a county? The short answer is, a whole lot. April 1, 2020 will be Census Day nationally, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about the Census and everything it could mean for our area.

“The US Federal Government has more than $675 billion to give away annually,” said Jean Hough, partnership specialist for the Census Bureau. “That money is allocated through one thing and one thing only: census numbers, how many people do you have in your community. The money follows the numbers, not the need. So, you’ve got to have your numbers counted to get your piece of that money.”

For each person who does not fill out their Census, Alabama loses $1,600 per person. That’s money that is put towards school lunches, veteran’s programs, Medicaid and Medicare, transportation, and a variety of other organizations and nonprofits.

Also during the 2020 Census, Alabama is in jeopardy of losing two seats in the House of Representatives.

“That would be the least amount of representation that the state of Alabama has had since 1970, and that’s scary,” Hough said.

For the 2020 Census, Governor Ivey is hoping for a 90% completion rate statewide. Everyone who lives in a household is to be counted in the Census, no matter how young or old. Everyone counts, so be sure to include your entire household when taking the Census. On the day you complete your Census, be sure to count everyone in your household at that time.

The Census process began early this year with workers going into the field and checking addresses and confirming they are correct. This is because come March 2020, postcards from the Census Bureau will be arriving at every household with instructions on how to take the Census.

“For the first time ever you can go online and take your Census,” said Hough. “There will be a specific identifier number on your postcard that you will be able to enter online at the website provided so you can complete your Census online. You can also call the Census. There’s going to be a number that you can call and do it all over the phone listed on the postcard.”

Those who have not completed their Census either online or by phone by April will begin receiving knocks on their door, Census-takers coming around the old-fashioned way. In order to complete the Census online or by phone, you will need to use the ID number listed on your personal postcard.

No one will ever be asked for personal information such as their social security number or citizenship information when completing the Census. As for the information that is entered such as address and phone number, the Census Bureau does not share information with other government entities. No names are associated with the Census, and no questions will be asked concerning taxes, social security number, or citizenship.

“If someone shows up at your door and claims they’re from the Census Bureau and then asks for your social security number or your credit card information, then it’s a scam,” Hough said. “When we send someone out into the field, they’re going to have a bag and a computer both with the Census logo on them, and they’re going to have a badge with an ID number that can be called into the bureau and verified.”

Be on the lookout for your Census ID card in the mail come next March, and check out https://www.census.gov/ for more information on the 2020 Census.