Often people ask me what they can do to make a difference in our community. There’s one way right now that you can make a real difference: by participating in the 2020 Census.

April 1, 2020 is Census Day, which will be the official start to participate in the 2020 Census. I strongly encourage you to participate. The census is a once-a-decade event, required by the U.S. Constitution, to count every person living across America. It is very important that you, your family and your community participate to ensure equal representation and that our community gets its fair share of resources.

The census isn’t just a population count for America. It’s important for so many other reasons.

Each year, based on the census, hundreds of billions of dollars is divided amongst communities like Oscoda that go toward local schools, better roads, health clinics and neighborhood programs. Many federal programs—including support for K-12 education and the Healthy Michigan Plan—rely on an accurate census count.

Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t counted. And it’s on us to change that. When we aren’t counted, our communities don’t get their fair share. For each person that isn’t counted, Michigan could lose up to $20,000 per person!

The census also impacts our local economy. Businesses in our community use census data to help determine locations for new developments. Real estate developers and city planners use census data to improve neighborhoods. And local governments use census data to plan new schools and hospitals and locate injured people after natural disasters. Finally, census data is used to draw local, state and federal maps for your elected officials. Thus, not having an accurate census count could impact every Michigander’s ability to have their voice heard in Lansing and Washington, D.C.

Here’s what you can do to help: when a postcard from the census comes in the mail, fill it out. Don’t throw it away. If you want, you can even do it online. Either way, it will only take a few minutes. And when you fill out the census, make sure to count everyone—including any children. Your answers to the census are kept confidential under federal law. By law, your responses cannot be shared with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or be used to determine your eligibility for any assistance programs. 

Luckily, the census is easier than ever to complete. You have the following options for completing the 2020 Census:

 

• For the first time in history, you can respond online at https://respond.census.gov/acs.

• Post cards will still be available and mailed to you with a postage-paid return envelope. 

• To respond by phone, call toll-free 1-800-354-7271.

• If you don’t respond online, by mail, or by phone, a Census Bureau field representative may visit you in person to help you complete the survey.

 

Ultimately, the success of the census depends on your participation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my congressional office at 810-238-8627 or www.dankildee.house.gov