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Warren County gearing up for the 2020 Census

A lot of things that were going on in 1790 aren’t happening today.

One thing that has lasted that long is the U.S. Census.

“Every 10 years since 1790, a decennial census has been taken,” U.S. Census Bureau Media Specialist Susan Licate said.

The census is Constitutionally mandated count of population and households.

It helps determine where people are, which helps set funding levels for a host of different entities.

“The data from the census is what drives our federal funding,” Licate said. “That is about $675 billion in federal funding each year for the next 10 years. That is why it is so important we ensure everyone is counted.”

That’s funding for infrastructure, funding for programs, funding for recreation.

The census helps set up boundaries for Congressional districts, too.

“It has a major impact on all of us,” Licate said. “Our goal is to count every person once, only once, and in the right place.”

Some households are more fluid than others.

Challenges that face the bureau include “folks that are in nursing homes, college dorms, homelessness, shelter, and the military,” Licate said. “We have special operations that work within those communities to ensure folks are being counted properly.”

In April, most college students are living at school. That is where they should be counted, Licate said. Those who head south for the winter may answer based on their location as of Census Day — April 1.

“If a baby is born before April 1, count the baby,” she said. “People who are at their end-of-life stage… if they have passed right before, we can’t count them.”

“Where that person lives on April 1, 2020, is where that person lives,” she said. “That’s where they are counted.”

“In early March, households across the country will receive an invitation to respond to the census,” Licate said. “We are encouraging early response and self-response.”

“Folks have the opportunity to respond online, by phone, or using the paper forms,” Licate said.

Help is available.

The online version translates to 12 languages. There are 59 languages available by calling. Braille and TTY are also supported.

Early response saves money for the bureau and repeated contact for the resident.

After the first invitation, if there is no response, there is a mail reminder encouraging people to fill out the questionnaire online or by phone. Then, there is another reminder. Finally, “if the household has not responded (to the first three contacts) that’s when a census enumerator would visit the house,” she said.

“We do want folks to know that all of their responses are confidential and protected by law,” Licate said. “Census workers have taken a lifetime oath of privacy and confidentiality. We also do not share any personal identifying information.”

“We only are sharing the data to provide demographic information,” she said. “We don’t share any of that information outside of the Census Bureau, not with law enforcement. We’re not ICE. We’re not the FBI.”

“It’s non-partisan,” she said. “It’s not Democrat. It’s not Republican.”

“It’s easy, it’s only 10 questions,” she said. “It’s safe. All information has received the highest level of security and fraud protection. It’s secure and confidential.”

“Our folks are not there to challenge any responses,” Licate said. “We only hope that folks answer truthfully and entirely. It’s so important to know the demographic makeup of our community.”

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