Make it Count: April 1 is Census Day

202censusThe U.S. Census, required every 10 years under the U.S. Constitution, takes place on April 1, 2020. The purpose of the Census is to count every resident of the country, regardless of citizenship status.

Why is the Census count important?

Census data determines how many of the 435 Congressional seats every state gets-- the states use population counts to draw district lines. Census data also helps local and state governments plan for transportation, school, emergency and social services needs in their communities. Furthermore, census data determines how much of the $880 billion in federal funding is allocated for programs such as Head Start, Medicare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Pell grants for college, reduced-price school lunch programs, and highway spending. Businesses also rely on census data in their decision-making to decide, among other things, where to start or expand operations and what products and services to offer in various locations.

What is new with the 2020 Census?

For the first time, most households will be invited to respond to the Census online. Most households will initially receive a letter asking them to go online to complete the census questionnaire between March 12-20 or to respond by phone. Paper census questionnaires will not be mailed to most house-holds unless these households have not responded to the initial invitation. The deadline to respond is July 31, 2020.

Are there concerns about undercounting?

In the last census, households in certain areas of Westchester County did not complete the census, which resulted in these communities not getting their fair share of federal funding. The attempt to include a citizenship question in the census may dissuade certain immigrant groups from participating. *Please note, there is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. In addition, local and state governmental officials believe that the move to digital census re-porting may negatively impact census participation among the poor and the elderly populations.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed an executive order creating a Complete Count Committee for Census 2020 to help develop strategies for an accurate census count and to encourage every County resident to participate in the census. Similarly, state law-makers have allocated $20 million for local governments to use in their efforts to make sure every New York resident is counted.

For further information about the Census in Westchester, click here