Every Person Counts: Participation Made Easier for 2020 Census with Online Option

Updated: Feb. 19, 2020 at 10:19 PM EST
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - It happens every 10 years. Officials work to make sure every person living in the United States is accounted for. The 2020 Census is just right around the corner, beginning on April 1st.

The Census is something familiar to many, but how the count is done has changed, since the last one was done 10 years ago - all thanks to technology.

"This time we’re actually going to do, for the first time ever, online. Our goal is to do 95% of the questionnaire online,” Neal Dollar, a Partnership Specialist from The U.S. Census Center, said.

Every home will be getting a letter like this in the mail by March 12th. In it, there will be a code that you’ll have to input on the website provided to be able to answer all nine questions for every member of your household.

“I’d fill it out and mail it in. That’s how I’ve always done it, so I’m really surprised to hear that they’re doing it only on the computer because people like me aren’t very good on the computer… so I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Nadja Dickenson, expressed.

Nadja Dickenson was one of the handful of residents who attended Wednesday’s public session in North Port to learn more about the 2020 census – especially about this change.

“Because I think the census is very important for the town,” Dickenson said.

It’s all about fair representation. The results are used to redistribute the seats in the house of representatives every ten years. However, aside from that, the U.S. Census Bureau distributes about $675 billion a year to all the states in the country, and then that money gets trickled down to our local governments. The only way we can get that money, is by counting everyone as accurately as possible.

“The federal funds that get distributed affect the programs that we use every day like new fire departments, new hospitals, traffic and roads, school programs like WICK, HeadStart, Title One School funding. That all gets distributed based on the count that we do in North Port to those organizations that need that money,” Dollar explained.

The U.S. Census Bureau says they understand many might not be able to get to a computer or feel comfortable doing this online, so Census Takers will still be visiting homes.

Plus, The Census Bureau is looking to hire thousands of residents to help other people in our community with the 2020 census. To learn more, click here.

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