Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to count every resident in the United States. Today is April 1, 2020 ─ Census Day! You can fill out the Census here.
We know your attention has been elsewhere lately and that’s certainly understandable. But taking the Census is quick – and it’s critical to the future health of the human services sector and our Commonwealth.
First, data collected is used to determine how federal funding gets allocated. Each person who fills out the census has an impact on their community receiving its share of $675 billion per year for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation, and much more. An undercount can mean Massachusetts loses millions of dollars for programs like Head Start and Section 8 Housing Assistance.
Second, Census data is used for congressional redistricting. After the 2010 Census, Massachusetts lost a seat in Congress, decreasing our state’s voice in government. State officials think that if more people had completed the census in 2010, Massachusetts might have held onto that congressional seat.
Third, Census data is used to guide and fund statewide programs, especially in human services. The data tells Massachusetts and local government where to provide services and how much funding to give community-based human services nonprofits.
Some may be worried about filling out a form that goes to the federal government, but keep a few things in mind:
- The answers you provide on the Census are totally confidential. Federal law prohibits anyone, even the President, from looking at individual people’s answers. They can only look at anonymized, general data for communities.
- There are no questions about citizenship on the 2020 Census. The purpose of the census is to count everyone who lives in America, regardless of immigration status.
- You may have a census worker come to your door if you don’t fill it out. Starting in April, the Census Bureau will start using part-time census takers to canvass houses that have not responded already. You are not legally required to answer the door, but the easiest way to avoid this is to just fill it out!The 2020 Census will mainly be conducted online, on the Census Bureau’s webpage. You may have already received an invitation in the mail to fill it out! If you prefer, you can also fill it out by phone — the Census Bureau operates phone lines in 13 different languages.
You may find yourself stuck inside the house over the next few weeks as we practice social distancing. Take a moment to fill out the 2020 Census!