A group in Daviess County is already in high gear in its mission to get residents counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, including populations that are sometimes undercounted and undocumented immigrants.
The Complete Count Committee has been working to develop strategies to get the word out on the importance of the 2020 Census.
Keith Sanders, volunteer chair of the committee, said it’s important to make sure every person in the community knows it’s time for the once-in- a-decade count of everyone in America.
“We have targeted strategies to reach populations that are historically at-risk of an undercount," said Sanders. "Those particular categories include low-income families, single parent households, the minority community, non-English speaking, seniors.”
For example, during events at the senior center and public library, older adults will be encouraged to take part in the census.
Many immigrants have expressed fears of deportation after the Trump administration tried to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
Sanders said the Complete Count Committee is aware of that anxiety and the group is working with local organizations who have developed trusting relationships with residents who may be undocumented and concerned about being deported.
“The courts have ruled that you do not have to identify whether you’re a citizen or not. The Constitution says all residents shall be counted," said Sanders. "We’re making a concerted effort to assure folks that the confidentiality procedures to insure that are really strong and there’s no threat of that.”
He said the community loses money for each person who does not complete the census.
“Population is one of the significant factors in determining the federal outlays that come into states and communities," said Sanders. "And it’s estimated in some quarters that it’s as much as $2,000 per person lost and that’s per year.”
For the first time, Americans will be able to fill out their census forms online. That’s expected to begin in mid-March. Then in May, census takers are scheduled to go door-to-door to households that haven’t yet filled out their Census 2020 forms.