I received my 2020 Census invitation via U.S. Postal Service on March 12. (I would feel really special if I didn’t already know that the rest of you received an invitation too.) The next day I had my husband sit down with me as I logged in to provide the Census information. I also received a reminder on March 16. If you have already completed your survey, Congratulations – and welcome to the party!
The U.S. Census Bureau’s goal with this invitation is to get as many homes as possible to fill out the information online. The amount of time it takes you to complete the survey online is dependent on the number of people living at your location. You do not have to do this online; you can choose to wait for the paper questionnaire that was mailed to your home. There is also a toll-free number that you can call if you have questions or need assistance filling out the questionnaire.
The information is very important to make resources and dollars available in the right proportion to those places where people live. For example, every county in Minnesota needs to have safe roads and bridges for transportation; those counties with more people require more roads due to more housing, more businesses, more schools, etc. Federal transportation funding allows the State of Minnesota to pursue many highway projects plus light rail. Without federal funding, our State Legislature would have to cut many transportation projects. A more concrete (pun intended) way of seeing this is – if you are tired of the potholes, complete the census to ensure the federal government is aware of how many people are using our roads on a regular basis.
There’s a lot more information online for those with questions. If you search online for “census 2020 PSA All Videos, you can watch 30 second clips that explain the census in commercial-like videos.
Even children are being educated about the Census through public service announcements (PSA). From the PBS.org/newshour website, the introduction to the Sesame Street PSA is made:
“No age group was undercounted as much during the last once-a-decade Census as children under 5, researchers say. Sesame Street is hoping to use Count von Count to change that.
The Muppet best known as the “Count” is joining Elmo, Rosita and her mom, Rosa, in public service announcements filmed on the set of the long-running educational television show. The spots encourage parents of young children to make sure they and their children are counted in the 2020 census.”
For those that have concerns about the government collecting their personal information, it is important to note that the Census is just one source of data. If you have earnings that have taxes withheld; if you are collecting any type of assistance – unemployment, disability/SSI, social security, or WIC; if you have a home with property taxes or a rental unit with a refund certificate; all of these are in federal and/or state databases. If you get married, divorced, have or adopt a child, have a driver’s license or passport, are convicted of a crime, or called to jury duty, your information is also in databases. Avoiding the Census does not mean you’re not counted – it simply tells the Census Bureau that you failed to comply with the invitation to complete the Census.
And if all else fails, the Census Bureau will send a person to your door to get the information from you during May. So save the knock on the door, and complete the census with all people living under your roof as soon as possible.