By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Our invitation to respond to the 2020 Census arrived in the mail late last week.
It arrived in a white 6” by 9” envelope with the words YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW printed in bold in a box on the left-hand side.
Our constitution here in the United States requires that a census be conducted every ten years to count every person living in our country no matter their age, race, ethnicity, or citizenship or immigration status. The mandate can be found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution.
The first census took place in 1790, with approximately 600 U.S. Marshals going door-to-door. They counted 3.9 million people. The census count in the 2010 Census was 309 million people.
With this being a year that ends in 0, the 2020 Census is underway.
Here is why it is so important that every adult, child and baby in your household is counted.
The census is not just used to gather information on the number of people living in the United States or in a particular city or state. Census data is used to determine how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives each state gets. The results help determine the number and shape of federal and state legislative districts. The data will impact decisions over the next ten years on how billions of dollars in federal funding flows into states, counties, cities, towns and villages for infrastructure needs such as road construction and repairs; schools; health care services; and vital programs and services for older adults, veterans, and low-income individuals and families. To be sure your state and town gets its fair share of funding for projects, it is important that everyone be counted, including you.
This year, the Census Bureau is using the internet to securely collect information. Responding on-line helps conserve our natural resources, saves taxpayers money, and enables the Census Bureau to process data more efficiently.
The letter contains a unique Census ID number. The number is needed to respond. It took me about ten minutes to answer the questions about our household. There were not any questions about our Social Security or Medicare numbers; our bank accounts; our citizenship or immigration status; or our political affiliations.
Help is available by calling 1-844-330-2020.
If you are unable to complete your 2020 Census questionnaire on-line or have not responded by April 1, the Census Bureau will send you a paper questionnaire for you to complete and mail back. The letter indicates that if you do not respond, the Census Bureau will need to send a Census Bureau interviewer to your home or apartment to collect answers in person.
During an informational program on the 2020 Census held at the Lacey Creek affordable assisted living community that Gardant manages in Downers Grove, Illinois, representatives of AgeGuide Northeastern Illinois talked about how the information collected in the Census will be used. AgeGuide is one of the more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging in the United States. The agency serves DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties.
The Census Bureau will only be using the information that we provide to prepare statistical reports. The Bureau is bound by law to keep your answers confidential. Itcannot share or release information it collects about you or others in your household to any individuals, businesses or organizations. It cannot share it with law enforcement agencies. It cannot even share it with any other federal government agencies or departments nor with any state agencies or departments.
Employees take an oath to protect your information for life.
The AgeGuide representatives also noted that the Census Bureau will not send be sending us any e-mails nor calling us to say that you have not yet responded.
If anyone should call you saying they are from the Census Bureau and they start asking for personal information such as your Social Security number or banking information, it is a scam. Do not answer their questions. Hang-up.
Also, be on the look-out for letters about the census that request a donation. They are not legitimate.
If someone knocks on your door saying they are from the Census Bureau, they should have an ID Badge that includes their photo. You can also call the Census Bureau to determine if the person is legitimate.
AgeGuide has information about the Census posted on its website.
For those living in Illinois, AgeGuide says you also can visit here.