The first census was taken in 1790, mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. This requires that the country count its population once every 10 years. All people living in the United States are required by law to complete the census.
The results of this once a decade count provide a snapshot of our nation; it is used to adjust or redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased. For some, more importantly, the figures are used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars that the federal government spreads around to states and communities for projects and services. Many of these are critical programs such as hospitals, fire departments, infrastructure projects, and even items such as school lunch programs.
Businesses also rely on this information to determine where to open new stores or factories, offices, or even where to expand their operations. They want to know the best places to recruit employees, and even what products are services to provide in that area.
When you do respond, all data is anonymous. The numbers are used only to provide statistics. The US Census Bureau is required by law to keep all information confidential. By law this insures your answers cannot be used against you by any court, or government agency.
When may you participate?
By April 1, every home will receive an invite to respond. This will give you a 12-digit Census ID code. Use this code to complete the questionnaire online. However, you may also complete this without the 12-digit code.
Ways to respond?
For the first time ever, online is an option (2020census.gov). Phone and mail are also an option.
Who to count?
Everyone under your roof as of April 1, 2020. This includes children, friends, roommates, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home.
Who is often missed?
People in shelters, health care facilities, homeless, and those in transit, such as in hotels, RV parks, and marinas.
The library does have a laptop upstairs next to the reference desk that customers may use to complete their questionnaire. As always, library staff are always willing to lend a hand to anyone if needed.
Last, if you do not complete your census data, someone eventually will absolutely, positively, for sure, come a’knocking on your door. PLEASE! Just do it! Having someone coming to your door costs money; the very same money that is used for schools, hospitals, etc, is now being used to follow up with everyone that does not fulfill their obligation.