It will be in Alaska next month and it's getting closer -- the 2020 census

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thomas Jefferson initiated and directed the first decennial in 1790 –the once-a-decade population and housing count that now includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Island areas. The Constitution since has required a census be taken every 10 years. The Census Act of 1840 authorized the establishment of a centralized census office and in 1902 the census office became a permanent organization within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Only a year after the census office became a part of the Department of the Interior, the bureau moved to the newly formed Department of Commerce.

The United States Census Bureau is the government’s largest statistical agency. One of the agency’s primary functions is to provide facts and figures relative to the nation’s people, places and economy. The 10-year census cycle includes determination of how many representatives each state gets in Congress and redrawing political district boundaries. Census statistics provide the means for communities to plan for resident needs such as roads, schools and emergency services. Businesses can also use the statistics to base plans for new shopping areas. As a result of the census count, the federal government distributes billions of dollars to communities for community needs and community growth.

Other programs under the heading of censuses in addition to the current decennial census, include the economic census, a five-year interval measurement of the nations’ economy relative to industry and geography and census of government, which provides comprehensive state and local government data relative to nearly 100,000 to local governments across the nation.

In addition to the census, the bureau conducts surveys to provide baseline information to help put together the final eleigibility for the post-census distribution of finding nationwide.

The American Community Survey samples approximately 3 million addresses annually with the goal of providing information about housing and people. The ACS is the only national source that tracks information about people in various specific communities and provides comparable information relative to how the U.S. population is changing. Data from the American Community Survey is used to assess past and present community information and to provide foundational information for future plans for community growth and improvements.

Demographic surveys measure poverty vs. income, education needs of communities , housing availability or lack of housing, crime and victimization, online and computer based community needs, health care issues and many other factors common to specific areas and communities.

Economic surveys are conducted monthly, quarterly and yearly, and provide information about selected sectors and dynamics of principle economic indictors of specific areas across the nation. These surveys provide more than 400 annual economic reports and, in conjunction with the nation 10-year census- provide foundational information about how much funding communities need and will be granted in the final census.

Once again, the Census Bureau strives to stress any information obtained by the census is protected by law. According to the Census website, “The law requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics. We cannot publicly release your enforcement agencies such as ICE, law enforcement agencies such as the FBI or police, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits.” The mission of the Census Bureau, according to the same online site, is “to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and economy.”

Including the establishment of complete count committees nationwide through 2019, the year’s end marks the opening of the remaining 248 census offices across the country. Looking toward January 2020, the bureau will begin the national census count with remote populations in Alaska.

The main new implementation for the 2020 census will be the three response options. One can respond to the census on the Internet, by phone, or on paper. Ultimately, according to the Bureau’s online sites, every household will get a paper form if they don’t respond online. Households in low-Internet service areas will bet a paper form from the start.

The 2020 census will include 12 non-English languages online or by phone. Language guides, glossaries, and identification cards will be provided nationwide in 59 non-English languages.

Previous census workers in past years have walked every street in American to verify addresses. However, this year, the bureau will use satellite and GPS imagery to locate areas where housing is changing. Assignments for walking census workers to verify addresses will come from that electronic data.

April 1, 2020, is Census Day. The beginning of in-person visits from bureau workers to households that have not responded to the census will begin on that day.

As the 24th United States Census begins, remember, you have a say in the working of your com

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