By J1 Reporter Grace Ellis
Every 10 years the United States Census Bureau takes an official count of the population to assess gender, race, age and income demographics of the population. The Nebraska Counts Coalition is a group of ‘nonpartisan nonprofit’ organizations who work on collecting census data for the United States Census Bureau. A phone interview with an anonymous “devoted civil servant” from Nebraska Counts offered some insight into the details of the 2020 Census.
“It [the census] is entirely confidential and important to the redistribution of government funds throughout the country,” said the correspondent.
The information collected in the census is used to redistribute House of Representative seats among the states, as well as to adjust government spending to where it is most needed. “The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children,” according to 2020census.gov.
The census will also determine how hundreds of billions of dollars are divided among over 100 government programs such as Medicaid, Head Start —a government program that works toward preparing children from low-income backgrounds for school at a young age— and community mental health services, among others.
Marian is a private school which means that it generally does not receive government funding. However, there are still many ways that the census can impact the Marian community. Mrs. Jillian Roger, offered some insight into the ways in which the census impacts the Marian community. “[The census] determines the money we get for our roads (hello pothole season!), the districts we are in for representation in the legislature, and where our tax dollars go,” Roger said.
“Nebraska is the state with the highest response rate at this point in time,” said the representative, “However I’m still hopeful that due to the coronavirus, people will have more time at home to submit their census forms.” In 2010, the Nebraska census totaled at just over 1.82 million citizens.
Although Nebraska currently has the highest response rate in the nation, a Network survey of 169 students revealed that nearly 66% of Marian students were unaware if their family submitted their census form, while only 21% were certain that they did send in their forms.
“I saw a letter about it in our mailbox,” sophomore Bridget McGill said, “My family has not filled it out yet, but my dad is planning to.”
Roger filled out her census form after receiving a notice in the mail. “I was sent a letter with my login code for my residence and I went on to the website to complete it,” Roger said, “You put in your unique code from the mailer, verify your address, and enter in the information about the people who live in your house. In total, it only took about five minutes.”
There are three ways to submit your census form: over the phone, by mail, and through the 2020 Census website. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the correspondent from Nebraska Counts recommended for the safety of those working at the coalition to submit your form over the phone or online, rather than by mail. To submit your form over the phone, simply call +1-844-330-2020 to speak to a representative. You can also submit your form via the 2020 Census website https://my2020census.gov.
Even though teens do not have their own census forms to turn in, there are still a few ways that you can be an active part of this civic duty. You can ask your parents if you can help them fill out the form, or you can simply spread awareness of the 2020 Census by reminding your parents, and other adults, to submit their digital census forms to https://my2020census.gov.
“I think the census impacts everyone in America,” Roger said, “It is essential to complete the information because… they use the numbers for deciding new infrastructure projects, planning for emergencies, and overall just gaining a sense of who is in this country. Please do your civic duty and fill out the survey.”
Courtesy of Nebraska Counts