In the Know

I filled out the 2020 Census online, here’s what you can expect

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April 1 is deemed Census Day nationwide as the United States government invites citizens to participate in the decennial count.

I filled out the census questionnaire online --- a quick and easy way to participate without interacting with anyone during social distancing --- which is one of three ways to respond. For those who don’t want to use the online forum, you can mail your responses or answer over the phone.

Due to COVID-19, Census 2020 field operations have been postponed until at least April 15 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, people are still encouraged to respond online, by phone or by mail.

When I looked at the date and realized “tomorrow is Census Day!” I Googled the 2020 Census and quickly realized I needed to go check my mail in order to start the process.

A Census ID is provided to each household, although if you don’t have your ID you can provide other information to participate.

I’m embarrassed to say I’m not entirely sure the last time I checked my mail --- it’s all online now anyway, right? --- but I did have three baby blue notices from the Census Bureau waiting for me.

After returning back to my computer, it took only minutes to complete the whole process, the web platform was user-friendly and I didn’t receive any glitches or confusion.

I provided my full name, birth date, confirmed my address and where I would be living on April 1.

Next, I provided the names and birth dates of the rest of my family.

The Census Bureau wanted to know our genders, the relationships of everyone living in my home, our ethnicities, if we owned or rented our property and if anyone at this address frequently stays somewhere else, such as college or a military assignment.

There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

I encourage everyone to complete the Census --- a U.S. Constitution-mandated tradition that’s been taking place since 1790 --- because it provides a snapshot of our communities.

As a news editor, we often rely on information provided through the Census.

Most often, I hear about its importance because federal and state funding is dependent upon population numbers, which is absolutely true.

The U.S. Census Bureau also provides statistics on the homeless populations in our communities --- a count that is set to take place April 29-May 1 --- and breaks down poverty levels, as well as information to show how many men, women and children are in each area.

This type of information keeps your go-to Valley journalists informed and able to report accurate, important news to you, on issues pertinent to your area.

Without the Census, we wouldn’t know that 121.5 million households in the United States; and of the 327 million citizens, 72.2% are white with 12.7% black or African American, and 5.6% identifying as Asian.

For more information and to participate in the required Census, go to 2020census.gov.

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