An Accurate Census is Critical to Your Future
This spring, you will be invited to take the 2020 U.S. Census. The census is simply a count of every person living in the country. An accurate count is important to the City of Plano and every family living in it.
Why Does It Matter?
“For each person that doesn’t get counted, that’s $15,000 that doesn’t go to the community over the next 10-year span,” said Wendy Jorgensen, City of Plano’s census liaison. “It’s so important that we get the best count possible for our community.”
That $15,000 is money that could have been used toward roadway improvements, programs for low-income residents, reduced-cost school lunches and block grants for community development. Area nonprofits also receive financial support based on the most recent census data.
Federal funding for many local projects is based on the count. For instance, if a disaster were to strike, the response from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be directly tied to census data. The number of people would be considered in the response, but also demographic factors like ages.
From a governance standpoint, local districts are drawn based on census data. Uncounted residents mean underrepresented communities. Nationally, the state of Texas stands to gain up the three Congressional seats if census turnout is strong.
“That means we would have a louder voice at the national level, which is critical to everything we do in the city,” Wendy said.
What Exactly Is It?
The United States has taken a constitutionally mandated census every 10 years since 1790. This year’s will be the first one conducted online. Residents can expect census letters to arrive in the mail by mid-March. Each one will have a unique identifying code to use online. Those who don’t have access to the internet or a computer can complete the census at any Plano Public Library computer as long as they bring their letter.
Residents who have concerns about taking the census should know that all personal information is sealed for 72 years. There are no questions about citizenship status or financial information like bank accounts and credit card numbers.
If you don’t fill out the census by April 30 expect a census-taker to soon be knocking at your door. To distinguish themselves from potential scammers, they will be wearing a government badge and carrying an official census bag.
“It’s very important for everybody to fill out that form,” said Wendy. “If you don’t do it, you could be the person that needed to be counted at that time and would have benefitted the most.”2020 Census Info >