With the 2020 Census approaching, people need to understand why it’s important to be counted in the federal census.
Federally-funded programs for roads and highways for example, the HeadStart program, Medicaid and Medicare, all rely on Census funding, and if numbers are lower than the actual representation, it could affect funding.
“It’s $2,000 per person and that includes everyone in your home,” Al White, executive director of Action Committee for Educational Reform said. “It’s important that everyone is counted.”
White said the census affects the economic development of our community, and the money comes back to fund projects that are needed.
“It attracts new businesses to state and local areas, planning for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and the location of other health services, facilitating scientific research, providing evidence in litigation involving land use, voting rights, and equal opportunity, establishing fair market rents and enforcing fair lending practices, providing genealogical research,” White said. He said it’s also used for redistricting, for house and senate district seats and school board and county board seats.
He said the last Census was not an accurate depiction of the State of Mississippi or Montgomery County because not everyone chose to be counted.
White said a lot of people avoid being counted by the Census because they “don’t want the government in their business.” But, he said more education about the Census and what it’s used for needs to be promoted.
“The Census won’t ask for your personal information. They won’t ask for your social security number if someone does that, then they’re not working for the Census,” White said. He said the population for Montgomery County and the State of Mississippi as a whole is inaccurate because a lot of people were not counted.
“Because of that, we lost a congressional seat. We lost that seat because the numbers were low. We don’t need to lose any more seats,” White said. But, it isn’t seats that could be lost. He said it also affects the numbers of children that can be accepted by Headstart, it affects education as a whole, redistricting for local municipalities, school board members, county supervisor seats, and so on.
He said in 2020 people will be asked to respond to the Census by way of the internet.
“If someone can’t fill it out by using the internet, then they will be sent a Census form. If they can’t fill out the form, a Census taker will come to their home,” he said.
White said that if a person was interested in being a Census taker, they could apply at www.usajobs.gov, www.census.gov/fieldjobs or www.2020census.gov/jobs. He said there would also be complete count committees that promote educating the public on the importance of the Census, display Census information in Government buildings, network with community leaders, and includes Census messages on customer billing statements or other correspondence.
He said if anyone wants to be a member, they can contact him. The 2020 Census will take place on April 1, 2020.