By Jade Broadnax, Staff Planner
A constructive and valuable way to serve our community during these uncertain times is to complete the 2020 U.S. Census — and remind others to do the same.
Lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use census data to make critical decisions in the next decade. The population count will show where our community needs improvements for schools, clinics, roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.
The census has never been easier to complete, even for historically hard-to-count populations. You can help by not only participating yourself, but by encouraging your family, friends, and neighbors to take part, too.
Reply Sooner, Not Later
If your household is like most, you have received a mailed invitation that includes a code to complete the census online. But even if you haven’t received the request, you can still complete the form online, by phone, or by mail.
The deadline for you to complete the census online has been extended to August 14. Census takers will begin visiting those who have not taken the census to gather the information. If you complete the form now, you can help reduce the number of census takers going door-to-door, which is essential during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We encourage you to help ensure the disabled or elderly you know have the tools to complete their census. A complete count helps identify services that can directly benefit them. Give your neighbors a phone call, shoot them a text, or ask (from a safe distance) if they’d like help checking the mail for their census invitation.
Your Information is Protected
The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The Census Bureau cannot release identifiable information about you, your home, or your business — even to law enforcement agencies — and includes no citizenship question. Every census employee also takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.
The law ensures your private data is protected, and that your answers can’t be used against you by courts or government agencies. Violating that law is a federal crime punishable by prison time and a fine of up to $250,000.
Students: Follow the 3 C’s
With the recent closures of Texas A&M and Blinn College, we expect students to leave their off-campus housing and go “home” to another city. Under the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases, students living away from “home” at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re a college student, follow the 3 C’s:
- COMPLETE the Census: If you live in College Station most of the time while attending school, you should complete the census according to your physical address here. Even if you are on an extended spring break in Colorado or went “home” to Houston and don’t have access to your mailed census invitation, you can complete the census online, by phone, or by mail.
- COORDINATE with roommates: If you live with roommates in College Station, coordinate with them to ensure that one roommate completes the census for everyone at that address.
- COMMUNICATE with families: Talk with your family to ensure you are counted at the address where you live most of the time. Your family has the option to include you in their census count but should answer “Yes, for college” when asked, “Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?”
It only takes a few short minutes to complete the census, so why are you waiting?
About the Blogger
Jade Broadnax is in her third year as a staff planner and project manager. A native of Chicago and Houston, Jade earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from Ball State in 2017.
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