Time to be counted: Pandemic won’t stop 2020 Census
It's time to be counted – Wednesday, April 1 is National Census Day, and pandemic or not, officials are urging everyone to fill out the 2020 Census form.
The federal government uses that information to determine how many seats in Congress each state should have. If a state loses population, it might lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. If its population is growing, it might gain a seat.
Census numbers also help decide how to divvy up more than $675 billion in federal money each year. Those funds help states and communities build roads, schools, hospitals and fire departments.
Programs, including Head Start and food assistance for low-income people, also rely on the Census to direct funds to where they are needed most.
Rebecca Sanin, of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, says the COVID-19 pandemic makes this Census more important.
“We need to make sure that we have the dollars for the recovery that are going to be so critical during this time of economic recession that we know is following this public health emergency,” she says.
Officials have tried to simplify this year's process. For the first time, responses can be made online, as well as by phone and mail. It will determine funding for the next 10 years, until the 2030 Census.
“This is something you can do that will have a very meaningful impact on the future of Long Island,” says Sanin.
To help people who speak little or no English, officials have guides available in 60 languages, plus Braille for the blind.