Did you know the census is mandated by the US Constitution in Article 1, Section 2? The first decennial census was conducted in 1790 and has been conducted every 10 years since. The purpose of the census is to apportion Congressional Representatives and taxes, by population. The census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five US territories. The Census 2020 will be the first census that can be completed online, in addition to the mailed paper copies and the phone questionnaires. By April 1, 2020, every home should receive an invitation to participate.
I have been appointed the chair of the Giles County, TN Complete Count Committee. This volunteer committee is tasked with helping increase awareness of the Census 2020 and the need to respond. The committee is made up of community leaders who are encouraging Giles County residents to participate in the census. Our initiative will really kick off in January with a proclamation by the County Executive, but we started this week with an insert in the local newspaper. The insert includes our Giles County specific census logo. We’re also encouraging our residents to apply to work for Census 2020 – there are numerous jobs with flexible hours.
One of the main things the Census 2020 outreach is trying to accomplish is to educate all residents that the US Census Bureau is bound by law to protect the information they collect and keep it confidential. The Census Bureau cannot release any personal information that identifies an individual in any way – only statistical information is released. Violating the confidentiality of a respondent carries serious penalties – a fine up to $250,000 and/or 5 years in federal prison.
The census is important to your community at the federal, state, and local levels. The census determines how many US Congressional seats a state is allocated. States receive money for programs like Medicaid based on the census data. States and local communities receive highway funding based on population. Restaurants determine where they want to build using information from the census. Please visit https://www.2020census.gov/ to read more about why you should be counted and help shape the future of your community.