Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Census 2020: User Guide

United States households are currently receiving their 2020 Census.

You may be wondering what the information is used for, who can see it, and what exactly is being asked. Here’s a quick guide on what the census is and how it affects you:  

Why Should I Participate?

Your participation in the 2020 Census benefits you, loved ones, and the community at large! 
$675 billion in federal funding is distributed every year across the United States. This money goes on to support programs such as schools, Medicare, housing, new roads, and much, much more! Non-profits also depend on these funds to help communities on a local level. Critical programs could face reductions in the people they serve if there is a discrepancy between the actual number of people in a community versus the people that responded. 
How you are represented in the government is also dependent on 2020 Census responses. The number of seats each state is allowed in the House of Representatives is determined by the population in a district. If fewer people are counted, that means that our state will have fewer representatives to introduce bills, propose amendments, and serve on committees on our behalf.
Did you know: The outcome of this census will directly affect state votes in the U.S. Electoral College for the 2024 presidential election. Make your vote count by being counted today!
Having accurate census information can even bring jobs to your neighborhood. Businesses use demographical data collected in the census to determine where to operate. 

 Is My Information Safe?

The information that you provide in the census is confidential. Census Bureau employees must adhere to strict guidelines that ensure the safety of all respondents. According to the Frequently Asked Questions section of Census.gov, “The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years or both. No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access or use your personal information at any time.”

What is NOT on the Census?

So, what IS on the Census?

In order to alleviate some common fears, it helps to know what questions are actually being asked. Here is a summary of the information you will need to provide:

-Number of people in the household
-Whether you live in a house, apartment or mobile home
-Telephone Number
-Basic demographic information for each person in the household 

For a detailed look at the questions you can see a sample questionnaire on the official census website here.

How Can I Start?

It is now easier than ever to get counted. You have the option to respond by mail, phone, online, or even at any of the many Census Sites throughout Bergen County. Access the online census here today!

What If I Need Help?

If you have any questions while filling out your questionnaire, our friendly staff is more than happy
to help you complete your form. E-mail demery@bergenvolunteers.org with any questions!  

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