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KY Census Worker Outlines Importance of Accurate 2020 Count

Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeremy W. Osborne

Kentuckians are being urged to take 20 minutes in 2020 to fill out their census questionnaire which will directly impact the commonwealth. 

One year from now, the U.S. Census Bureau will start mailing questionnaires to every household in the nation. 

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted every ten years to determine the number of congressional delegates for each state. 

Census data is also used to determine how federal money is distributed to states and local communities for things like roads, schools, and health care.

Speaking to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on Wednesday, Census Bureau employee Crystal Boyett cited a George Washington University study that highlighted the financial risk of under-counting Kentucky's population.

"If we miss out on one single person, that's $972 worth of federal funding the community could lose out on, per year," Boyett explained. "Multiply that times ten until we do another census, so you're talking about $10,000 over the course of ten years for missing one single person."

Kentucky had a participation rate of 77 percent in the 2010 census, above the national average of 74 percent.

For the first time, the census next year will be offered online which officials hope will improve the response rate among the younger population.  Responses will also be recorded through traditional means by phone and mail.  Questionnaires will start being mailed next March.

Kentucky has created a 2020 Census State Task Force made up of legislators and other stakeholders that will work to maximize participation.  Governor Matt Bevin is encouraging communities to form Complete Count Committees made up of local leaders tasked with educating the public about the census. 

Bevin is one of two governors and 15 attorneys general who signed a brief supporting the Trump administration's efforts to have a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census form.

Bevin opposes a federal judge's ruling that stated the citizenship question is unlawful.  Bevin fears the opinion could have negative consequences for the state through participation and political redistricting.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in April.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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