Guest column: It’s vital that every one completes the 2020 Census
As Colorado’s population grows and becomes more diverse, an accurate 2020 Census count is more important than ever.
Every 10 years, the Constitution requires us to count our population. The results determine where billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated: funding for our hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other critical resources that Coloradans use every day. Funding for programs like Head Start, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) are all informed by the results of the Census—critical programs that serve families and individuals throughout our community and lift up our most vulnerable populations.
Put simply, an accurate count of Coloradans will shape our future and ensure our communities have the resources they need.
While Colorado’s overall response rate is currently 66.5%, above the national average of 63.2%, only 26.7% of Grand County residents have filled out their 2020 Census forms. We have a long way to go to ensure we are all counted. We must each do our duty and make sure our families, friends, and neighbors all participate too. You can track the response rates by state, county, and congressional district here.
Additionally, the new realities of COVID-19 have made it important for individuals to “self-respond” rather than waiting to be contacted by a census official. The U.S. Census Bureau has had to push back the start date for their in-person operations, and only began hand delivering Census invitations to households with a P.O. Box address on May 18.
The people of Granby, Winter Park, Fraser, Kremmling, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Tabernash and Parshall are depending on all of us to fill out our census forms so that we do not miss out on federal funds.
The Census is confidential. It counts every person living in the United States, regardless of age or citizenship status. Your data is safe and confidential, protected by law from being shared with law enforcement, immigration agencies, or housing authorities.
It is easier than ever before to complete the Census: online, by phone, or by mail. You can even respond in 13 languages online or by phone. You can fill out the census by visiting my2020census.gov, calling 1-844-330-2020, or by filling out and mailing back a printed questionnaire, which tends to be sent to the households of people who have not responded online. However you choose to respond, the process takes minutes.
We are living in stressful and uncertain times, there is no doubt about that. But even now, we must take a few minutes to ensure that our communities are accurately represented for the next ten years. The Census is quick and easy–in just 10 minutes you can fill out your questionnaire and help your community access the resources that they deserve. You can also find the questions on the form here. The deadline to complete this is Sept. 30.
It’s up to each of us to respond to the Census and ensure an accurate count—our community is relying on it.
Congressman Joe Neguse represents Grand County in the U.S. House of Representatives. Richard Cimino, Kristen Manguso and Merrit Linke are Grand County Commissioners.
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