Once every 10 years, the United States Census Bureau goes about the massive undertaking of counting the country’s entire population. This is critical, as an accurate count of all individuals, including children, provides a means for determining what federal and educational resources are required per region.
At the end of February, Rep. Ro Khanna held a Town Hall on the 2020 Census at the Milpitas Extension. A panel, composed of representatives from various organizations and entities, was present to talk about the importance of this year’s Census, and how they’re getting the word out about it.
"The Census is here, because it’s about money, power, and justice,” said Ray Mueller, a Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau. "Make sure you’re counted because the taxes come back and help the community.”
Mueller spoke about how the Census helps to determine how to divide $675 billion in funding across all the U.S. states. It allows for key decisions to be made on where to allocate funds for housing, programs, and education.
Zulma Maciel, Director of Office of Immigrant Affairs, brought up the challenges of counting everyone in San Jose, which is such a diverse city. “We are committed to getting an accurate count of everyone living in San Jose, regardless of immigration status, regardless of languages spoken,” said Maciel.
For the communities hardest to count — the elderly and those for whom English is not their first language (or who don’t speak English at all) — the Census will be online for up to 12 languages. Assistance over the phone will also be available for up to 59 languages.
All data collected is protected by law, through Title 13, which was created after World War II. This law locks down all Census information for 72 years, so that your name is not associated with any data you provide.
The Census only asks for basic information, such as name, date of birth, age, address, phone, and email. It contains 9 questions in total.
Starting on April 1, postcards will be mailed out to the community to let them know that the Census is available to take over the phone or online. Follow-up reminders will also be sent out.
In cases where respondents don’t take the Census after a month’s time, people will be sent to their homes with a tablet to guide them through it. The Census Bureau is now hiring people to be Enumerators; these individuals would go out into the community and knock on doors, to encourage the community to take the Census. Pay is $30 an hour.
For more information, go to: 2020census.gov