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You Count. Be Counted. And We'll All Win.

The Library has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to support the 2020 Census from March 12 – July 24. Why? Because the census is everyone’s chance to make sure the hard-earned tax dollars we send to Washington, D.C. make their way back to Missouri in the form of funding for necessary services.

What Is the Census?

The census is a questionnaire – think of it as a survey. It counts every adult and child living in the United States. It’s part of the U.S. Constitution and takes place every 10 years.

 It asks nine questions about the people living in your household including name, age, race, sex, and if you own or rent your home. It does not ask for your income or political party. It does not ask if you are a citizen. Regardless of your citizenship or immigration status, you should still respond.

Here’s How to Respond

Beginning in March, Missourians will receive their invitation by mail to respond to the 2020 Census. Some households will get the census form by mail or hand-delivered to their home if they may have limited internet access or older adults living in the home.

They can fill out the confidential document via home phone, cell phone, mail or from a computer at 2020Census.gov using a passcode provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. You may also call the U.S. Census Bureau to answer the census questions. 

The Library can help once branches reopen in light of the coronavirus closures. If you or someone you know needs an internet computer to respond to the census, you’re welcome to use the Library’s public computers anytime during branch hours. Not a card holder or Greene County resident? We’ll waive the visitor pass fee so you can fill out the census form and be counted.

The census will be available online and by phone in 13 languages, including Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Arabic. The paper version for mailing will be available in English and Spanish.

The U.S. Census Bureau will provide non-English support materials, such as language guides, in American Sign Language (ASL), braille, and large print. The U.S. Census Bureau’s census questionnaire assistance will include a telecommunication device for the Deaf.

 

How is Census Data Used?

 The census helps our government figure out how much money each state gets for important programs. The census also determines each state’s representation in Congress.

What’s at Stake? Why Should I Care?

 The census helps our government figure out how much money each state gets for important programs. (This is some of the money returned to us from the taxes we pay to the federal government.) When every Missourian is counted, we get more money for roads and bridges, hospitals, schools and your libraries. It ensures Medicare Part B is fully funded so our seniors can get the care they need. Medicaid long-term care services can help more seniors stay in their homes.  

For every adult and every child that is not counted in the census, our state will lose $1,300 in federal dollars – every year. That adds up to $13,000 per person over the next 10 years. If we aren’t all counted in the 2020 Census, Missouri will be shortchanged for the next decade. It happened 10 years ago: Due to being undercounted in the 2010 Census, Missouri lost a congressional seat and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

Who Should Be Counted?

It is important that every adult and every child in Missouri be counted. This includes newborns, children, grandparents or other family members, friends, and roommates living in your home.

If you’re not sure who to count as part of your household, think about who stayed in your home on April 1, (called Census Day). For example, if you share custody of a child, you can decide which household should count the child based on where they stayed on April 1. People staying with you on April 1 who have no other usual home should be counted as part of your household.

  If we don’t count our young children living at home, our community will have less funding for schools, child care, and other services our children need to grow up strong.

If your child spends time in two homes, count them where they stayed on April 1, 2020.

When we all respond, Missouri gets more funding for health insurance programs for our kids. This includes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid (MO HealthNet). It gets more funding for important programs like SNAP (food stamps) and WIC. This means our kids have access to the food they need to grow up healthy. It also means our local schools and child care facilities, such as Head Start, will get the funding they need. 

Is My Information Secure?

             Yes, your information is secure. The U.S. Census Bureau will keep your information private. It is illegal for the U.S. Census Bureau to share your information with other government agencies, courts of law, or private companies.

 A census worker will never ask for your Social Security number, or information about your bank accounts or credit cards. The U.S. Census Bureau will not email you about the 2020 Census, either.

The census only asks for your phone number in case they have questions about your responses to the questionnaire. They will not share your phone number with anyone, including businesses or other government agencies.

             If you want to make sure the person at your door is really a census worker, check their badge. All census workers have an official U.S. Census Bureau ID badge. The badge should include their name, picture, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. They will also be carrying an official bag with the Census Bureau logo and an official letter explaining why they are visiting.  

 

 

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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