Don’t miss your last shot at the Census
The Millerton News Editorial
Wednesday, Sept. 30, should be marked on every American’s calendar. That’s because Wednesday, Sept. 30, is the last day Americans have to complete the 2020 U.S. Census — a document crucial to determining how billions of dollars in federal funding will make their way into our communities each year for the next decade.
The results of the Census also determine how many seats in Congress each state gets — which breaks down to how many representatives per district will stand up for each man, woman and child in the U.S. House of Representatives. The results are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
The Census provides important information for lawmakers, businesses, educators and others to provide services and support for communities throughout the country.
Billions of dollars of federal funding every year go toward hospitals, emergency services, schools, roads and other important resources based on Census figures.
The information also provides for important programs including Medicaid and Head Start, and block grants that help fund things like community mental health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.
Since 1790, the U.S. Constitution has mandated the United States has its population counted every 10 years. It does that through the Census, which Americans are obligated to complete. And it’s so simple to do.
You can complete your form online, at www.my2020census.gov, or by phone, at 844-330-2020 (for English speakers) or 844-468-2020 (for Spanish speakers); or via the mail.
The questions are simple: You’ll be asked about who was living with you on April 1, 2020.
You will never be asked for: Your Social Security number; money or donations; anything on behalf of a political party; or your bank or credit card account numbers. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. If you are asked any of these things, it’s a scam, and you should not cooperate.
As of Sunday, Sept. 13, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro’s office announced that 65.8% of households in Dutchess County have responded to the Census online, by phone or by mail, “just exceeding the 65.7% response for the 2010 Census.”
“Considering the challenges that COVID-19 and some other obstacles have presented, we are grateful to the people who have taken the time to fill out their Census,” Molinaro said, adding some towns are over the 70% self-response rate. “Other areas, including the City of Poughkeepsie, the Towns of Amenia, North East and Washington, have been experiencing lower self-response rates.”
That’s not good. In fact, on Thursday, Sept. 17, North East town Supervisor Chris Kennan announced that “The Town of North East is at 49.2%, while Dutchess County overall is at 66.9%. Our town’s self-response rate to the Census is significantly lower than the county average, in fact lower than any of the three Dutchess County towns we border… Your help is needed! Our community could be out substantial sums of federal funds over the next 10 years if we are undercounted… Please, help make sure our community is not shortchanged!”
He’s right. By not completing the Census, our communities will be shortchanged. They will be undercounted. Our schools, our libraries, our roads, our fire departments, our social services — they could all face some serious funding cuts in the next decade plus. Don’t let that happen because you couldn’t spare a few minutes of your time to answer a few simple questions, which will have a direct impact on you, your family, your neighbors, your community, your state and your country for years to come.
Do us all a favor, complete the 2020 Census while there’s still time.