Since the beginning of the year, you’ve undoubtedly heard quite a bit about the Census. You may wonder why or wonder what the big deal. As always, the Lubbock Mom’s Blog has you covered on why this seemingly mundane topic is vital to moms.
What is the Census?
The Census is a massive endeavor to count everyone living in the 50 states, DC, and US territories. It only comes around every ten years, so it’s essential to get the count as accurate as possible.
Why do we count everyone?
Well, first off, it’s required by the Constitution. But the important part is what happens with the information collected. This count is used to decide all sorts of essential things that have every day impacts on families. The Census determines how many seats each State/District receives in the House of Representatives. The Census also determines how federal funding gets allocated for individual states and localities. This funding supports schools and school lunches, hospitals, fire departments, and roads, among other things. Other community programs that receive funding based on the Census include Medicare/Medicaid, Section 8 Housing, Headstart, CHIP, SNAP and WIC programs, Title I funding, and emergency assistance.
How do I participate?
Thank goodness we live in 2020, and participating has never been easier! Around mid-March (think: the time everyone becomes obsessed with College Basketball), every household will get the 10 question survey in the mail. You can complete and return the hardcopy via mail (postage free!), or you can complete the response via the Internet or Phone. You can find more details on the Census questionnaire. If you choose to participate online or by phone, 13 languages are available to assist you. Responding should take around 10 minutes.
Do I have to participate?
YES. You are legally required to respond to the Census. If you don’t respond by the deadline, a Census worker will come to your home to collect the information. You can face fines for refusing to participate, or knowingly providing false information. But remember- the equally important reason to respond is that this count, and ACCURATE count, makes a real difference in our community daily.
How am I protected?
The Census Bureau is required by law to protect the information you share and keep it confidential. These responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or in court.
What if I am not a citizen?
The 2020 Census does NOT include a citizenship question. It is essential to get an accurate count of everyone living in a geographic area, regardless of citizenship status. Again, your answers are strictly confidential and not shared with other government agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the police, or the FBI.
What should I be on the lookout for?
You may be receiving scam materials if anyone requests your social security number, bank or credit card account information, money or donations, or your political affiliation. Census workers also may not require that you show ID.
Moms – this is for you!
The group most likely to be undercounted in the Census is children under 5. Approximately 5% (or 1 million kiddos) were not counted in the 2010 Census. This group of un-reported children is now between the ages of 10-15, meaning we did not plan for them when we last allocated federal funding to school/education programs, child healthcare initiatives, and housing. This is where moms come in – literally everyday we make sure our children count, and the Census is the chance to do this on a national level!