If you’re like me, you may be familiar with what the census is—an official count of everyone living in the U.S., which occurs every 10 years—but perhaps less knowledgeable on why we do it and why it matters. Although it may seem like the census is simply routine recordkeeping, it’s actually so much more! Let’s start with why we do it.
The origin of the U.S. Census dates back to the birth of our nation itself. When the founding fathers wrote the United States Constitution, they mandated that a census should be conducted each decade. The reason that this was important enough to include in the document that guides our very democracy is that the number of elected representatives an area receives is based on how many people reside there. More people means more congressional representation. This is why the tradition of the census continues to this day—it ensures that power is in the hands of the people through fair representation.
So why else is it important? Well, in addition to impacting your state’s representation in Congress, the census also impacts the amount of funding allotted to public projects like hospitals, fire departments, roads, and schools, just to name a few. Adequate funding for these important services that we use every single day depends on an accurate and complete census count.
Furthermore, the census also supports the local economy by providing valuable information for businesses that they can use to make decisions on where to build locations, which types of products and services they should offer, and more.
By April 1, 2020, all homes in America should receive a mailed invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, residents can respond on behalf of their households to the invitation online or by phone or mail.
Questions about the 2020 Census? Learn more online, contact your local MCPL branch, reach out to your local Complete Count Committee, or contact the Chicago Regional Census Bureau Office, which serves the state of Missouri.
And remember, fill out your census! It’s important because everyone counts.
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