The 2020 United States Census: What It Is, Why It Is Important, And How You Can Help
The United States Census is an event that occurs every 10 years and it has a massive impact on the governance of the entire country for the following decade. Mandated by the US Constitution in Article I, Section II, it states: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several [now 50] States…according to their respective Numbers…” which is conducted by counting the whole number of persons residing in each State.
The first census occurred in 1790 under then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, with 22 having occurred since then. Soon will be the beginning of the 2020 Census and, interestingly, every household in the United States will receive an invitation to complete the census over the internet, by phone, or through a paper questionairre. Importantly, if you decide not to respond or worse give false answers to any question you could be penalized for an amount of up to $5,000.
Still not fully understanding what the Census is or why it is important? Here are the major points for you to know:
- The US Census counts every person once, and occurs every 10 years.
- The results of the US Census are used to reapportion the US House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets.
- Following the US Census, state officials will redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts.
- More than $675,000,000,000 in federal funds, grants, and support is distributed to states, counties, and communities based on the results of the census data.
Many others use this census data as well. Businesses will use the data collected to decide where to build factories, staff offices, create stores, and generally generate jobs. Real estate developers will use the data to determine where to build new homes or where it is better to repair and revive older communities. Local governments will use the data to decide how to tackle public safety and emergency preparedness issues. Even individuals will get use out of the census data, which they can utilize to see what initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life, and consumer advocacy activities they wish to get involved in.
Best of all your privacy is protected, as it is against the law for the Census Bureau to publicly release any/all of your responses in any way that could lead to anyone being able to identify you, your family, or your household. Further, by law, any of your responses cannot be used against you and will simply be utilized to generate statistics.
How To Get Involved
If you own a business, nonprofit organization, or foundation you can find out how to assist the US Census Bureau in the collection of the 2020 Census at: https://census.gov/partners.html.
In addition, the US Census Bureau is in need of assistance in conducting the collection of the 2020 Census count, so they are currently hiring hundreds of thousands of temporary positions across the country at: https://2020census.gov/jobs.