On April 1, each one of us will be called on to perform one of the most important acts we can do as residents of Gwinnett County, the state of Georgia, and the United States: participate in the 2020 Census. Along with voting, answering the census questionnaire every 10 years is one of the biggest factors in shaping government and its influence on your life.
Census results are used in a surprising number of ways by the government, the private sector, and academia for analysis and planning. Census statistics help shape boundaries for legislative districts, which establish who your representatives are and help give your community the representation it deserves. It also affects allocation of federal resources. A study by George Washington University found 320 census-guided programs distributed an estimated $880 billion in federal funding in 2016. Much of the federal funds go to local and state governments for roads and other infrastructure, education, and vital social programs. The Association County Commissioners of Georgia calculates that missing just 50 people can cost a county up to $1.1 million in federal funding over 10 years. An accurate census count will help ensure Gwinnett receives appropriate services and resources from the state and federal government.
The private sector relies on census statistics when deciding where to locate businesses. Small businesses and large corporations alike use economic and demographic data to understand potential markets, business competitiveness, workforce capabilities, and the nature of the economy in a given area. They study statistics by industry, geography, and other benchmark indicators. Complete census results could mean more and better jobs for Gwinnett.
In mid-March, invitations to complete the 2020 Census will be mailed to each home in America. From March 30 to April 1, the Census Bureau will count people who are homeless by visiting shelters, soup kitchens, and non-sheltered outdoor locations. April 1 is Census Day. Every household should have received an invitation by then, and ideally, every person will be counted on that day. This summer, census workers will go door-to-door to follow up with people who haven’t completed the forms, and in December, the bureau will issue a report to the president.
Filling out the form is simple and fast. In addition to responding by mail or by phone, you can, for the first time, do it online. Your information is secure. The Census Bureau is taking extraordinary steps to ensure your personal information is protected. And it is a crime for your private information to be shared with any other agency or person. It is only for statistical purposes.
Answering the census questionnaire is a small effort for a large return. The results will shape our political landscape, business and economic future, education institutions, infrastructure, and our quality of life far into the future. So, please, do your part. Respond to the census invitation. Be counted so that Gwinnett Counts.
For more information, visit 2020Census.gov.