2020 Census is easy, important and safe

Living and Aging Well: Column by Jennifer Hillmann
Posted 12/3/19

Our nation’s founding fathers determined that every ten years, we will count every person living in the United States. Since 1790, the U.S. government has conducted a census to do just that and in …

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2020 Census is easy, important and safe

Posted

Our nation’s founding fathers determined that every ten years, we will count every person living in the United States. Since 1790, the U.S. government has conducted a census to do just that and in 2020 there will be another count of America. The 2020 Census will count every living person in the United States and five U.S. territories. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to the short questionnaire—either online, by phone, or by mail.

Yes, you read that correctly! The 2020 Census will be the first ever to have an online component. The bureau encourages everyone to fill out their census questionnaire using the online option next year because it reduces the need for expensive door-to-door canvassing. More ways to respond to the 2020 Census makes it Easier than ever to complete!

Census statistics are used to determine how $675 billion in federal funds and grants are distributed annually for critical public services like hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and emergency response as well as to regulate the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives. This makes completing your census questionnaire incredibly important!

For increased protection with the 2020 Census online component, the U.S. Census Bureau has invested heavily in cybersecurity. The security of Census Bureau systems is a top priority, and our IT infrastructure is designed to defend against and contain cyberthreats. We continually refine our approach to identifying, preventing, detecting, and responding to these threats so that we can ensure all information provided by individuals remains confidential and is always protected by federal law.

If responding online is not your thing, you can still fill out your paper census form to mail in, or you can call a toll-free number (instructions available in English and 12 additional languages) to self-respond. We do not identify individuals in statistics we publish. Our policies and safeguards help ensure the confidentiality of your information. In fact, Title 13 of the U.S. Code states that your information must be kept confidential, and your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Anyone who violates this law faces severe penalties. This means you and your responses to the 2020 Census are safe!

The U.S. Census also recently kicked off a nationwide recruitment campaign to hire approximately 500,000 temporary workers to help conduct the 2020 Census. We still need census takers to work in their local communities and go door-to-door to collect responses from those who don’t respond online, by phone, or by mail. Positions offer competitive pay, flexible hours, paid training, weekly paychecks — and you get the opportunity to help your community and be a part of history all while getting paid! Interested? For more information on our jobs, you can visit our website: www.2020census.gov/jobs.

Another way Colorado’s communities can help is by forming a Complete Count Committee (CCC). These integral partners help us to increase awareness about the importance of the census. Some actions taken by partners and CCCs include hosting promotional events, displaying census information in businesses, including census messages on customer billing statements, and networking with community members to ensure everyone is involved and informed. For additional information on the importance of a CCC, you can visit: https://census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/complete_count.html.

Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The census officially begins on April 1, 2020, with the online component to begin in mid-March 2020, and our efforts to ensure everyone is counted once, only once, and in the right place will last through the end of July 2020. The census is easy, it’s important and it’s safe — help shape your future, do your civic duty and make sure your voice is heard and represented by getting counted in 2020!

Jennifer Hillmann, MS, is a media specialist based in Denver with the Dallas Regional Census Center for the U.S. Census Bureau. Your local Douglas County Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau is Martha Rubi-Byers. To contact Martha, you can email her at martha.rubi.byers@2020census.gov or call 720-891-2418. For additional 2020 Census Information, please visit www.2020census.gov. This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. Please join us for our next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 at New Hope Presbyterian Church, 3737 New Hope Way, Castle Rock. Our presentation and community conversation will begin at 10:15 a.m. The meeting topic will be the 2020 Census. Our guest speakers are Martha Rubi-Byers, our local Douglas County partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, and Nancy Gedeon, AICP, demographic program analyst for Douglas County. For more information, please visit www.MyDougCoSeniorLife.com, email DCSeniorLife@douglas.co.us or call 303-663-7681.

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