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Why you should fill out the 2020 census

Questionnaires help determine government representation, funding

Advertising that the U.S. Census Bureau will use in their outreach campaign for the 2020 Census is displayed at the Arena Stage, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy)
Advertising that the U.S. Census Bureau will use in their outreach campaign for the 2020 Census is displayed at the Arena Stage, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy)

The 2020 U.S. census is the most important count of the decade. America comes together to tabulate every resident in the U.S. and use its valuable statistics to determine how the government runs the country and on the local level how to adjust vital programs like housing, education, transportation and even the health care industry.

The census impacts a lot of different spheres of society, below are three specific topics the census helps address:

Representation

Representation matters, especially when it comes to who is writing and shaping laws. The federal government takes a look at the information the census provides to see what the population looks like and what national legislation they should tackle to adjust to the country’s growth. Though this process starts at the local level.

Local communities are impacted the most by census survey results. Local government officials use this information to ensure public safety, plan for new schools as well as hospitals and medical centers.

If a community is undercounted then there could be a lack of resources like police officers, overcrowded schools and lack of healthcare in the area. Hospitals that are too far away or poor law enforcement response times can help be avoided if a community is properly counted.

In the broader view, the census is also used to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives. New numbers can mean new seats and fair representation.

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Redistricting

Redistricting may be involved in properly representing communities.

After every 10 years, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts. That means booming neighborhoods may get more representation or be put in a new district.

As the demographic and cultural make-up of the country continues to change -- so do the neighborhoods. To have fair representation and to be inclusive, lawmakers will go back to the statistics provided by the census to determine the multi-ethnic communities and take that into consideration when trying to redistrict fairly. Proper redistricting means the more likely candidates who associate with the community will properly represent the community and represent their interest in government, and that all dwindles down to the census survey.

Lawmakers use the information from the censs to redraw boundaries and adapt to population shifts. (Census.gov)
Lawmakers use the information from the censs to redraw boundaries and adapt to population shifts. (Census.gov) (WKMG 2020)

Money

There is more than $675 billion in federal funds set aside annually to help support states, counties and programs in communities.

This money is meant to assist with housing, education, transportation, public policy and employment. Improved transportation routes or vehicles, more resources like textbooks and new technology in schools and affordable housing can all be impacted by the census. When a person responds to the census it helps a community get its fair share of those funds and helps shape its economy.

Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores and in turn, helps create more jobs and could potentially decrease unemployment in a sector of society.

To learn more about the census, watch the video below.


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