Have you ever heard the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”?
The 2020 US Census is your chance to be the squeaky wheel because everyone has a voice!
In order to get more of what you need to live your best life, you need to make your voice heard. The census is a powerful tool that helps you shape your future and the future of your community.
What Exactly is the 2020 US Census?
The 2020 US Census is a way for the country to measure what is needed and where it’s needed most. To name just a few things, it’s a marker that determines,:
- District representation based on how many people live in each community
- What programs will receive funding
- How to keep our communities safe
It only happens once every 10 years, and the information gathered shapes a lot of major decisions for another decade.
Show Me the Money!
Money is the bottom line. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars! That’s a lot of the green!
Legislators, business owners and community leaders use your answers, and the answers of everyone in your community, to make decisions about what to fund for the next 10 years.
Decisions about money for schools. Decisions on funding community health clinics. Decisions about financing services to help families. Your response to the 2020 US Census affects you and everyone in your community.
Let’s start with a timely example—the COVID-19 pandemic.
The information collected by the 2020 US Census will help communities respond to disasters. When your community is dealing with a pandemic, the data from the 2020 US Census is what determines some of the funding for hospitals and other first responders.
There are so many community resources that are affected by your answers. For instance, do the schools in your community have the money they need to give your children the best education possible? Are there enough protections in your neighborhood to keep everyone safe? Do families, especially children and the elderly, have an adequate food supply?
The results of the 2020 US Census inform how federal funding is allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.
The results aren’t just used for government projects.
Ever wonder why a business opens in one neighborhood and not another?
Business leaders review data, such as the census, to decide if there are a sufficient number of residents to support a business, and how the population in a community has changed over the years in terms of how it might affect their business.
The census also helps nonprofit organizations, such as Campaign for Working Families, understand the best way we can help families.
What Kind of Questions Does the Census Ask?
The 2020 US Census asks really simple questions, such as:
- The number of people who live in your household and whether they’re related to you or not
- Whether you own or rent your home;
- Your race
- Your age
Yes, it gets personal. But that’s what makes it possible to count as many people as possible and make sure every individual is represented appropriately. The census will also ask for your phone number, but don’t fret—they’re not going to call to bug you or give away your information. They’ll only collect your phone number in case they need to call about a specific question based on your responses. Your answers are completely confidential and will never be shared or sold to anyone.
Who Should Participate?
By law, the government is required to ask everyone living in the United States to complete the 2020 US Census. And there is no citizenship question.
How Do I Participate?
It’s really easy to participate and it takes less than 30 minutes (possibly less than 15 minutes for most people). You have probably already received a notice via a form in the mail (if not, call English: 844-330-2020 or Spanish: 844-468-2020 to participate). Representatives are available to speak to you in 14 different languages. You can also answer the questions by phone or online.
Don’t Get Scammed!
Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who will try to take advantage of the census and to get access to your personal information.
One main way to identify a scam website is to check the website address. Note that valid Census Bureau websites will have “.gov” at the end.
The website 2020census.gov provides key information about the 2020 US Census and how to respond.
Remember, the Census Bureau will never ask for:
- Social Security numbers
- Bank account or credit card information
- Anything on behalf of a political party
- Money or donations
Should I Participate?
Even if you think things are going well in your neighborhood, there’s always room for improvement!
The 2020 US Census is a tool that puts the power of deciding:
- What communities get resources
- What families get the help they need
- How your community will be represented.