The U.S. Constitution requires a count, once every 10 years, of everyone living in the country. The count must include people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups; citizens and non-citizens alike. Every household should complete a census form (either online, by mail or phone) by April 1, 2020. The Census is central to our democracy and having an accurate population count is critical for understanding and meeting our community’s needs.
WHY DOES THE CENSUS MATTER?
FEDERAL FUNDING: Utah receives about $5.7 billion a year in federal funding, according to an analysis by George Washington University – that’s about $1,870 per Utah resident. Key programs that rely on this funding include:
• Highway planning and construction
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
• Medicare Part B
• Section 8 and other housing assistance
• Special education grants (IDEA)
• Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
• Head Start
• Emergency Planning
POLITICAL REPRESENTATION: Census data determine the number of U.S. representatives each state sends to Congress and are used to set district boundaries at the state and local levels.
DECISION-MAKING: Census responses are part of the official statistics used by the County and are the main source of data for decisions made at the national, state, and local levels. Government, businesses, nonprofits, and foundations use census data to allocate funding, define where services are delivered, and promote economic development.
DEMOCRACY: It is important for everyone to be counted in the Census to ensure all voices are heard and fairly represented. Inaccurate information suppresses the voices of undercounted groups and undermines the basic political equality that is central to our democracy.
THE 2020 CENSUS WILL BE CONDUCTED PRIMARILY ONLINE FOR THE FIRST TIME, BUT IT’S ALSO POSSIBLE TO RESPOND BY MAIL, BY PHONE, OR THROUGH AN IN-PERSON INTERVIEW.
In March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will start contacting households through a series of mailings:
MARCH 12-20, 2020 Every household receives a mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions to visit their website and fill out a simple10-question form. Completing the form takes about 10 minutes.
MARCH 16-24, 2020 Follow-up letter sent to all households reminding them to complete and return the Census survey.
APRIL 1, 2020, CENSUS DAY Follow-up letter sent to all households reminding them to complete and return the Census survey.
APRIL 8-16 Follow-up letter and paper survey sent to non-respondents.
APRIL 23-30 Final follow-up postcard sent to non-respondents.
AFTER APRIL 30 Census staff members, called “enumerators,” will visit households that haven’t completed a census form. Enumerators will have tablet computers on which individuals can complete the census survey. Completing a census form before May is the best way to avoid having an enumerator visit your home.