Raise Up Your Hand - 2020 Census

Here's what each Huntington resident should know about the 2020 Census

By Kevin Krauskopf
City of Huntington communications coordinator
kevin.krauskopf@huntington.in.us

2020 is the year to raise up your hand and make sure you count.

That’s because the nationwide Census, mandated by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years, is closer than you think.

Every person has a civic duty to help carry out an accurate Census count. With that in mind, the city of Huntington has created a helpful guide to ensure each resident stays informed of key dates and procedures.

THE CENSUS’ IMPORTANCE

The results of the 2020 Census will place much on the line for the community of Huntington. Census data directly affect everything from how much funding a community receives and how it plans for the future to its residents’ voice in government and local business decisions.

“An accurate census count gives us a measuring stick for whether we’re growing or shrinking as a community,” Huntington Mayor Richard Strick said. “We know that one of the top priorities for all businesses is recruiting employees that can show up and get the job done. A growing population helps us attract new businesses and increases the base of sales for existing local retailers. A growing population also spreads local tax rates over more households which lessens the impact on each particular household.”

Nationwide, an estimated $675 billion – with a “B” – is distributed in federal funds based on Census data. This money in turn is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, emergency preparedness and other important public services.

Dr. Dwight Brautigam, chair of Huntington University’s Department of History and Political Science, said local officials use Census data and statistics to better plan ahead for tax revenues and the cost of services the city provides.

“I think the tangible benefits for the city are found in having the best data we can get so we can make decisions with a clearer understanding of the implications of our decisions,” said Brautigam, who also serves as a board of public works and safety member for the city of Huntington.

Finally, Census figures determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, while state officials use the data to reshape legislative districts and boundaries.

KEY DATES

When it’s time to take part in the Census, Huntington residents should anticipate the following:

-March 12-20: An invitation by mail to respond to the 2020 Census.

Some households, selected at random, also will receive paper questionnaires. In these surveys, the Census Bureau asks additional questions to compile statistics in areas including the population’s age, education, housing and income. All responses are kept confidential and are never shared in an identifiable form.

-March 16-24: A reminder letter.

-March 26-April 3: A reminder postcard for households yet to respond.

-April 8-16: A reminder letter and paper questionnaire.

-April 20-27: A final reminder postcard before an in-person follow up.

HOW TO RESPOND

For the first time ever, residents can choose the way to respond that they find most convenient. Beginning in March residents can respond online at 2020census.gov, by mail or by phone.

In June and July, Census takers go door to door to count those who have not responded. Door knockers are U.S. Census Bureau employees and will provide proof they are official government personnel.

PRIVACY

Law requires all residents participate in the 2020 Census, and strict federal rules protect your personal information. Privacy statutes prohibit the U.S. Census Bureau from releasing your responses in any way that identifies an individual or business. Your Census responses also may not be shared with any other government agency, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

EXTRA INCOME

The Census Bureau hires several hundred thousand workers to assist with the nationwide head count. These temporary positions offer competitive wages paid weekly, flexible hours and paid training. Applications must be made online at 2020census.gov/jobs.

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