It’s critical that you’re counted in the upcoming census
by Allison Hatfield | February 24, 2020
Wednesday, April 1 is Census Day, though the U.S. Census bureau plans to release forms in March. It’s critical that every person is counted. And everyone living in D-FW is required by law to respond to the simple questionnaire.
Census data helps determine how much money the federal and state governments grant a city. The info guides local planning decisions and how money is allocated. It helps determine where to build roads, schools, hospitals, job-training centers, and more. It also determines how many U.S. representatives each state gets and is used to redraw district boundaries. Put simply: When people aren’t counted, distributions are less fair.
Every person uncounted in the 2020 census, could potentially cause cities in Dallas County to see $15,000 less in federal funding in the next decade. If you consider the current population of Dallas County, even a 1% undercount could result in a loss of more than $40 million annually in federal funding. It’s a lot of money that we really need.
How to respond to the 2020 census
This is the first year that you can take the census by mail, phone, or online, which should make it much easier for everyone to be counted. Watch your mailbox in mid-March for an official Census Bureau envelope that will contain detailed information on how to respond. The organization is calling it an “invitation,” and you must R.S.V.P. sometime in the late spring or summer. If you don’t respond, you can expect an in-person follow-up from the U.S. Census Bureau.
There are a number of groups that are harder to count than others. (You can see where they live in the Dallas area, for the most part, here.) Among them are immigrants, children under the age of 5, apartment dwellers, and renters. A report released in February by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of people thought the census will include a question about citizenship. It won’t, and that misinformation could lead to an even lower turnout among hard-to-count populations.
Learn more and take the 2020 census
Watch the video below to learn more about the census and the importance of being counted, or read the FAQs in English and Spanish.
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