Every ten years since 1790 — that’s 22 times over 220 years! — the United States government has conducted a national count of everyone who lives in the country. ANCA is helping spread the word about the Census here in the Adirondack North Country because this short and simple survey has a direct and lasting impact on our communities.
Census data determines how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and how congressional districts are appointed. This federal representation informs policies and funding decisions for public services for our communities. These include services for schools, businesses, homeowners, farmers, families, healthcare providers and municipalities.
The decennial census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and is designed to take an accurate count of everyone who lives in the country including U.S. citizens, legal residents, long-term visitors and undocumented immigrants. The Census counts children and adults alike. The survey compiles basic biographical data about characteristics such as age, sex, marital status, race, income, education and languages spoken at home. It is an important tool for policy-makers, legislators and countless organizations across the country.
The map image here, provided by Council for Foreign Relations, demonstrates that representation does indeed shift according to census results. In fact, the 2010 Census resulted in a loss of two seats for New York State in the House of Representatives.
Data from the 2020 Census informs federal spending decisions that will affect North Country communities for the next ten years. Each year, $675 billion is distributed to communities nationwide. Your census responses will help provide needed funding for our schools, emergency and health services, social services, and the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure including roads, bridges and public transportation.
Every person counts
As the 2020 Census rolls out in March, we need to achieve a strong response rate in our region. Every person's response makes a difference, especially for rural places like the Adirondack North Country, where it can be challenging to get a fair and accurate count.
Remember that young children count! In the 2010 census, an estimated 5% of kids under the age of 5 were not counted — that’s about one million kids nationwide.
Capturing these infants and young children in the national count can be difficult for a variety of reasons: if children split time between two or more homes, live with grandparents, have temporary living arrangements or are the children of recent immigrants or foreign-born adults. To overcome the range of children's housing and living situations, the Census Bureau asks us to count where individuals will be on Census Day — April 1, 2020. Newborns that are still in the hospital on that date should still be counted.
There are no questions about citizenship in the 2020 Census. Non-citizens living in the U.S., whether they are documented or not, are counted in the Census.
All census results are confidential and secure. In fact, census employees take a lifelong pledge to handle data responsibly and keep respondents' information private. They face jail time and up to $250,000 in fines if they breach this contract.
By counting all people in the census count, federal agencies and service providers are better able to provide adequate representation and funding, directly impacting the policies and programs that affect you, your family and your neighbors.
Equipped with accurate data about the people who live here, local and federal leaders as well as community and nonprofit organizations like ANCA can better identify our constituents’ needs and the tools and resources that will help them prosper.
You can help spread the word about the 2020 Census and the importance of participating. Find out how you can pledge to participate, stay up to date with census topics and share information through your social networks on the Census website.
You can help dispel misinformation about the Census and help others understand that completing the census is fast, easy, convenient and confidential.
You can help conduct the 2020 Census! The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring census takers and other temporary staff. The positions offer competitive pay, flexible hours, paid training and weekly paychecks. Learn more about these job openings and this meaningful opportunity to support your community on the U.S. Census jobs page.
Learn more about the U.S. Census by visiting www.2020census.gov. This web tool is rich with information about the who, why, where, when and how of the 2020 Census.
Other interesting reads:
- "2020 Census Faces Challenges in Rural America," Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire
- "Why Is the U.S. Census So Important?," Population Reference Bureau
- "Why the 2020 census matters for rural Americans," The Conversation
- "Why Does the Census Matter?," Council for Foreign Relations
- "The Importance of an Accurate and Robust Accounting of our Nation's Population," Committee for Economic Development
- "Census Bureau Ramps Up Hiring Efforts for 2020 Census," U.S. Census Bureau