In less than a month, citizens throughout the United States will be receiving their 2020 United States Census forms, as the country’s population is counted. The early projection is that the U.S. population is going to grow to approximately 333.5 million – and increase of more than 8 percent from the 2010 census.
The census is required by the U.S. Constitution for a decennial population count and was initially created to make sure that political power was fairly allocated among the states, as well as within states at the local level. The first census was conducted in 1790 and has been a staple of the dawn of a new decade ever since.
Census forms will arrive in early March and the self-response period will be from March 12 to April 30, with April 1 designated as National Census Day in an effort to get as many people to get their forms returned and to count those with no fixed permanent addresses, ranging from college campuses to homeless shelters.
There will be three options that people can use to respond to the census – on-line, by mail or by phone.
While some may view the census as a meaningless exercise that they don’t need to be involved in, in the coming weeks and months, there will be a push throughout different media platforms to get as complete a count as possible. For those who don’t believe the census is important, there are several factors that make getting as high a percentage of people in counties, cities and townships accurately counted. These are some the reasons why:
Information collected in the census influences the way public officials distribute more than $800 billion in federal funds every year for services like schools, fire departments, hospitals and community health centers.
Census data influences the distribution of funding for Head Start programs.
Census data impacts the approximately 22 million children who get free or reduced-price school lunches every day.
Census data influences the funding for Community Health Centers, of which approximately 25 million patients rely on in both rural and urban settings.
Census data is what is used to determine political districts at the federal, state and local level and how Congressional seats are apportioned.
Information taken from census data is used by state and federal decision makers to determine where new schools are needed and where hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and state spending will go to help pay for teachers, textbooks and other educational expenses. The data is used for the allocation of almost $16 billion in Title I grants to help local educational agencies serve more than 24 million low-income students and $12 billion annually for special education grants.
Company executives use census data to identify communities where they might build a factory/office building or open new stores, creating new jobs in the communities they choose.
Census numbers guide the distribution of billions of dollars in community development block grants.
Many 911 emergency systems are based on maps developed from the previous census.
Census data assists health providers predict the spread of diseases through communities with higher levels of children or the elderly.
When the census form notification arrives in your mailbox next month, make sure that you get counted because there is a lot more riding on getting everyone counted than may initially meet the eye.