Importance of the Census

21 Jan 2020 | 02:06

    2020 is a census year. Every ten years the US takes inventory and counts every person living in the country, and where they live. The Constitution mandates it. People move, die, are born, or come to the country, and census is necessary to reapportion and redraw congressional and legislative districts.

    Census responses are only used to produce statistics. No other purpose is allowed by law. Your responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or court, including the FBI, ICE, or local police. Census workers take a lifetime oath to protect personal information. If they violate that oath, they are subject to a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison. The US Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, money, donations, bank or credit card information.

    Census statistics impact education, transportation, Medicare and Medicaid, libraries, community centers, SNAP and school meal programs, parks and recreational facilities.

    Fair share of funding to states depends on an accurate census count. Funds not received in one state because of undercount are distributed to other states. In other words, if New Jersey is undercounted in the census, New Jersey doesn’t save money; it loses money.

    In 2010, 27,000 (5.2%) of New Jersey children under the age of five were undercounted.

    In March, most households will receive an invitation by mail to respond to the census. You can respond online, by phone, or by mail. If you don’t respond, census workers will follow up in person.

    Please make sure you participate in the 2020 census. It’s safe, easy, and very important.

    Ann Pompelio