It is hard to believe that the 2020 Census is already underway. As we enter the next decade, Census day falls on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. In the weeks leading up to April 1st, you will begin to get a reminder in the mail. This year, for the first time, the Census will take place online.
Here's some Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the decennial census? Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone in the United States. Data from the census provides the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country to support vital programs that impact housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. They are also used to redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and accurately determine the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
What this means to our local community is how much money we receive in federal funding. Estimates show that for every person uncounted, Berks County could lose up to $2,093 per person per year in federal funding. That totals to over $350 million given our projected undercount from the previous census (16,000 people).
Why is it important to me? Responding to the census is not only your civic duty; it also affects the amount of funding your community receives, how your community plans for the future, and your representation in government. Specifically, data from the 2020 Census are used to:
- Ensure public services and funding for schools, hospitals and fire departments.
- Plan new homes and businesses and improve neighborhoods.
- Determine how many seats your state is allocated in the House of Representatives.
How can I respond? In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online, but you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer. Responding should take less time that it takes to finish your morning coffee. Click here for an informational questionnaire.
Where can I go to learn more? You can learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting www.2020census.gov
How does the Census Bureau protect my data? If you submit your census online, your information is encrypted. The Census Bureau's cybersecurity program meets the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information. Your Census information is confidential. Federal law protects your census responses. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your information with immigration or law enforcement agencies, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits. Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.
- We'll give you 675 billion reasons! If you suffered damages from the flooding rains this year, you need to be counted! If you drive on roads or over bridges that need to be repaired, you need to be counted! If you send kids to school or subsidized daycare, if you use free lunches at school, if you go to the senior center or use our playgrounds, you need to be counted! There's approximately $675 billion in small business loans, federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities distributed annually; all based upon Decennial Census counts. This money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs and infrastructure. The money will end up in someone's community. Do all you can to make your claim so we can have those dollars - OUR DOLLARS - end up here in West Reading!
- It's CONFIDENTIAL!! Even those who are not US Citizens need to be counted to ensure proper allocation of these funds. With all applicable laws and privacy policies nobody should fear completing the census. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about individuals, households or businesses, even to law enforcement agencies! The information collected can be used for statistical purposes only. Additionally, all Census Bureau staff take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information and any violations comes with a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison. Learn more about the Census Bureau's data protection and privacy program at www.census.gov/privacy
- It's your civil duty and completing the census is mandatory! Respond or Census Enumerators will come knocking! If a response is not received for your address by the end of April 2020, you will likely see a Census Bureau worker knocking at your door! Do your part and BE COUNTED!
- Your Social Security number
- Your bank account or credit card numbers
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
If a website, e-mail, or person claiming to be from the Census Bureau asks you for one of these things, you may be the target or victim of a scam.
Did you know that the United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790?