Census 2020 is Finally Here! It’s time to Take Action.

CensusArts

Editor’s Note: The Department of Commerce created this article, which was distributed via the Washington Internal Communicators Roundtable (WICR).

We’ve been hearing about Census 2020 — a once-in-a-decade snapshot of who we are — and spreading the word about its immense importance for more than a year now. And finally the time has come to take action (and lead by example).

The U.S. Census Bureau has mailed out the first wave of 2020 Census invitations to about 140 million households. Have you received yours yet?

Inside your invitation, you’ll receive a Census ID to use when you respond online.

Online?! Yes, online. “The Census Bureau is using the internet to securely collect your information,” the invitation reads. “Responding online helps us conserve natural resources, save taxpayer money and process data more efficiently.”

That said, the bureau can send paper questionnaires to those who request them.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a complete population count every 10 years to apportion seats in the House of Representatives. The state uses it to draw boundaries for every level of government down to school districts, according to the Office of Financial Management (OFM). An accurate census ensures fair and equal representation at all levels.

Federal, state and local governments rely on census data for planning and delivering education, economic development and employment, transportation, and health services.

In 2015, Washington received $13.7 billion in federal funds, which amounted to about $1,914 per person, according to the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. In addition, the private and nonprofit sectors use census data in their planning and decision-making processes.

Check out this table, which comes from OFM:

Programs Washington obligation
Highway planning and construction $664 million
Education – Title 1 grants, special education, Head Start, school nutrition $815 million
Health insurance — Medicare, S-CHIP, Medicaid $9.7 billion
Supplemental Nutrition, including WIC (Women, Infants, Children) $1.7 billion
Rural assistance programs $555 million
Section 8 and other housing assistance $630 million

The census process is safe, quick and very important to the future of our state and communities. OFM encourages state employees to spread the word using the following three talking points with state residents, including Commerce’s customers:

  1. Important: By taking a few minutes to complete the census, you can help protect Washington’s voice in Congress, bring tax dollars to our communities, and invest in better planning and services for your neighborhood.
  2. Easy: You can use the internet — via your home computer or on a mobile device — to submit your answers.
  3. Safe: Your personal data is confidential. Title 13 prohibits the Census Bureau and its employees from sharing personal responses with any other government agency or official or outside entity.

Please help spread the message. Given the outbreak, 2020 Census field operations have been suspended until April 1.

To learn more, visit OFM’s WA Counts 2020 webpage.

The Department of Commerce created this article, which was distributed via the Washington Internal Communicators Roundtable (WICR).