Michelle Petrazzoulo Harris Rampart Library District mug for Courier column At the Library.jpg

Michelle Harris

Census Day is April 1.

Many people do not understand the importance of participating in the U.S. Census and therefore ignore it. Many think it is just a collection of numbers used for general statistics. It is, however, much more important. The data is used to inform funding for services like fire, police, schools and clinics and representation that effects our community. It is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives, how federal and state legislative districts are redrawn, and the appropriation of federally funded programs. Therefore, it is extremely important to participate as each individual is affected by the results of the data collection.

What it is:

Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau records everyone living in the United States. It is written in the Constitution. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, as President George Washington’s Secretary of State, led the first U.S. Census in 1790. Even then Jefferson had concerns that the people were significantly under-counted.

When it is:

Census Day is April 1. Data collection will begin this month and continue through August. Households should have received, or will receive, postcards in the mail this month.

Questions asked:

There are 10 questions that the census asks, with an estimated completion time of 10 minutes per person. The questions include: name, phone number, age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, relationship to householder, own or rent, number of persons in the household, and if a person stays or lives somewhere else.

How the 2020 Census data will be used:

Where there are more people, there are more needs for public services. The census is used by the government to make decisions about funding annually. It is also used by nonprofits to inform services, by businesses to create jobs, and by students for school projects.

How people can complete the census:

The Census can be completed several ways: Online (using the internet); by telephone (by calling the census call center); paper form; or by responding to a census enumerator (those employed to collect the census).

Confidentiality:

All data, aside from the general statistics, are protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code. Records are confidential for 72 years by law. All Census Bureau employees swear a lifetime oath to respect the confidentiality of respondents. The U.S. Census is forbidden by law to share personal information with other government agencies.

How can the Rampart Library District assist you in participating in the 2020 Census:

Many people are not trusting of door-to-door canvassing. Technology has made this not necessary in most instances. For the first time, people will be able to respond to the census online from anywhere, anytime.

At least a quarter of households of Teller County do not have internet service. While the Rampart Library District is currently closed until further notice, the library does offer access to WiFi that can be used from the library parking lots for folks that have a device but no WiFi.

While the Rampart Library District desires to assist all in being able to complete the 2020 Census by providing easy access, we cannot, due to confidentiality, complete the census for anyone or watch individuals fill out the census.

It is my hope that by reading this information I have both encouraged you to participate in the census as well as eased some minds in regards to confidentiality. 

Facts regarding the 2020 Census included in this article can be found on the Everyone Counts Census 2020 website, demography.dola.colorado.gov/census_2020.

For more information on the U.S. Census visit the official website, 2020census.gov.

Michelle Harris the library director for the Rampart Library District. Contact her with questions or column ideas at 687-9281 or michelle@rampartlibrarydistrict.org.

Load comments