Madison County households will soon be receiving a letter from the Census Bureau inviting them to participate in the 2020 census. Every 10 years, as mandated by the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau counts the population of all 50 states and U.S. territories. The 2020 count marks the 24th time that the country’s population has been counted.
Most people will receive a letter in the mail within the next few weeks inviting them to respond online to the 2020 census. Some households will also receive paper questionnaires. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that haven’t responded by early April. Census workers will visit households that haven’t responded by April 27.
The decennial census provides important data for lawmakers, businesses and schools and is the basis for allocation of certain types of federal funding. Funding for schools, hospitals and fire departments is based on the census data. The census also determines the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This year the Census Bureau is offering several ways to participate. Households can respond online, by phone or by mail. Census workers will only be sent out to remote areas and beginning in mid-May to collect responses from homes that have not responded by phone, mail or online.
According to Kathleen O’Connell, a representative from the Charlottesville office of the United States Census Bureau, the agency is ramping up efforts to get an accurate count of the United States population especially the traditionally hard to count populations such as children, immigrant populations and those in rural areas.
“The agency has done a lot of research and is reaching out to communities in advance of the 2020 census,” said O’Connell. “We are making every effort to get an accurate count of the population next year. It’s so important for so many reasons. Census data is used to reapportion Congress and determine how to distribute funding for many services and infrastructure projects like health care, schools, roads and businesses.”
The Census Bureau warns people to check that all workers identity before giving any information. All census workers carry a valid ID badge, with current photo and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and are trained to show their ID to their interviewees.