Every year that ends in a zero—2000, 2010, and now 2020—share one important commonality: they are the years in which the federal government conducts the census. This year will be the 24th time the census has been held since 1790, and new this year is the ability to respond to the census online, as well as submitting responses over the phone and by mail.
Andra Ingalls, intern to the town manager, said that there will be several kiosks set up around town for the sole purpose of responding to the census. Kiosks can be found at the senior center at 200 East Street, the Wheeler Family Regional YMCA at 149 Farmington Ave., the Plainville Community Food Pantry at 54 S Canal Street, and in the town clerk’s office at 1 Central Square. In addition, all of the library’s computers with access to the internet will have a link directly to the census website, allowing residents ample opportunities to respond online.
Jamie McDonald, a U.S. Census Bureau partnership specialist, attended the town’s complete count committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and addressed many of the concerns that usually surface during census time.
“What we’re asking for is really very basic, very simple,” said McDonald. “We’re not looking for social security numbers. We’re not looking for bank information. We’re not asking anything about citizenship, and we’re not affiliated with any political party.”
All of the information taken by the census is federally protected, and legally, none of the information collected can be shared in any form other than official Census Bureau statistics.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, the constitutionally mandated count counts the population of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Once census data is collected by the Bureau, the statistical data is used for many purposes, from informing the allocation of federal funding to determining how many seats each state will have in the House of Representatives, and determining congressional and state legislative districts.
In Connecticut, the network of community foundations have teamed up to offer marketing funds to each communities complete count committee.
“We, along with all of the community foundations in Connecticut came together months ago to pledge that we would assist the cities and towns in our service areas across the state to help with anything that we possibly could to support the work of the complete count committees,” said David Obedzinski, President of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, who shared that each of the four towns served by CFGNB is eligible for up to $3,000 in financial support.
Between Thursday, Mar. 12, and Friday, Mar. 20, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond online, by phone, or by mail.
Wednesday, Apr. 1, is observed nationwide as Census Day. By this time, every home in the country will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census. Once the invitation arrives, residents should respond for their household. Throughout the month, census workers will be visiting housing complexes such as senior living facilities and students living on college campuses.
Throughout May, June, and July, census workers will be visiting the homes of those who have not yet responded to the census. And, in December, the Census Bureau will deliver the statistical data to the president and Congress, as required by law. By March of next year, the Bureau will have sent redistricting counts to states.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at News@PlainvilleObserver.com.