Residents should expect to receive mailed invitations to complete the 2020 census before the end of the month. Every 10 years, the United States, through individual towns, conducts a census that helps determine important funding decisions and planning for the future.
Once residents receive the mailer, there are three ways to respond: online, by phone or by mail. “Census Day” is observed on April 1 nationwide. When responding to the census, individuals are to report where they live as of April 1.
Starting on March 30, census takers will begin counting people who are experiencing homelessness by visiting shelters, soup kitchens, mobile food vans, tent encampments and people living on the streets. In April, census takers will visit colleges, senior centers and others who live among large groups of people.
Come May through July, census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 census.
“You may notice census takers in your neighborhood this year. This is a normal part of conducting the census,” state officials on the 2020 census website. “Your information is such an important part of the 2020 census, that if you haven’t responded on your own, we send census takers to help make sure you are counted.”
Census takers will have a clearly visible identification badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Census workers may also carry census bureau bags and other equipment with the census bureau logo.
Response to the 2020 census is required by law and provides a snapshot of the nation.
“The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress,” state officials on the 2020 census website. “State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.”
In Southington, a census committee has been formed in order to help administer the census. Joanne Kelleher, director of Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) is a member of the committee. She is focused on the counting of young children.
“Children under the age of five are historically the most under-counted group,” said Kelleher. She said, when children split their time between multiple households, they are often missed. In addition, there is sometimes misconception regarding babies born on April 1. “Babies born on April 1 or prior get counted even if they aren’t home from the hospital. Babies born after April 1 aren’t counted in 2020.”
According to Kelleher, renters are the second most undercounted group.
“They may think that the invitation to reply to the census is really for their landlord,” she said.
The 2020 census will not ask for a social security number, credit card, finances or citizenship status. Kelleher said anyone who asks for that information, or shows up posing as a census worker after you have submitted paperwork already, is a scammer.
The census bureau is required by law to protect any personal information collected and keep it strictly confidential.
“The 2020 census will help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities for the next 10 years—basically, an entire childhood,” said Kelleher. “It comes out to $2,900 per person, per year, in Connecticut.”
The census can be taken online at 2020census.gov. There will be a green button on the top right corner that states “Take the Census.” To take the census by phone, call (844) 330-2020 between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time. To respond by mail, simply fill out the form and send it to “U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 1201 E. 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132.”
To learn more about the census, visit www.2020census.gov.