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Census 2020: Do I Really Have to Fill This Out?

The decennial Census questionnaire will be available to all people in the United States beginning March 2020. But why does the Census matter to you and why is it important for everyone, including those that do not or cannot vote, to take part? Can your answers get you in trouble and how do you even Census?


The biggest question many ask is “what is the Census and why should I fill it out?” The Census is a comprehensive count of every person living in the U.S., including non-citizens, every ten years and has been required by the U.S. Constitution since 1790. The goal of the survey is to provide accurate, unbiased data about America’s residents and economy.


The Census relies on everyone to participate to gather the best quality data. The data will help communities effectively plan for new roads, schools, and emergency services, and the federal government can effectively allocate more than $675 billion to state, county and city’s vital programs.


Businesses use Census data to decide where to create more jobs. Communities may not get their fair share if everyone does not participate in the Census.


The Census is also used to reapportion the House of Representatives and to redraw boundaries of congressional and legislative districts so that communities get fair representation.


Some residents have privacy concerns while others worry that the answers they give the government may get them in trouble with law enforcement or the IRS. There is no need to worry as, by law, the Census Bureau can only use answers to provide statistics like poverty rates, education, population diversity and economic indicators. All answers are confidential and the Census cannot share your information and will not ask for social security numbers.


With changes the government has made the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire is easier than ever to fill out for people of all backgrounds. This year the Census can be filled out over the phone or online as well as by mail or by an in-person interview. The online version is available in both English and Spanish.


The Census only happens once every 10 years. It is important for all to participate so that the government can release high quality data and that every voice count.


Local municipalities are hosting workshops to teach residents how to accurately submit answers. To help further explain how vital it is that every household in Carson participate in the U.S. Census, Carson Accountability and Transparency is holding a workshop on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Carson Community Center. A 2020 Census representative will be available to help explain the process and answer any questions you might have. Register at carsoncat.org/MEOW.

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