The 2020 Census: Why It’s Important

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Editor’s Note: The POST Newspaper Group, in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, will publish a series of articles on the upcoming 2020 census. Readers can look forward to future articles that will provide more specific information on the census.

Tired of dealing with the potholes in your community? Wondering why there are not enough social services available in your neighborhood?

It may be because of an inaccurate census count due to hundreds of individuals who didn’t participate, and your city received less federal funding for much-needed services than it should have.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census count in thousands of cities, towns and communities across the nation affecting millions of people from all walks of life. The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. The purpose of the census is three-fold:

• Accurate census counts help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.

• The results determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

• It’s mandated by the U. S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2.

Norman Brown, who currently works in Alameda County’s Census Office, has participated in every census since 1960, and has held a wide range of positions with the agency, ranging from a clerk to managing all field operations, a post which is second in command at every census office.

“When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous,” said Brown. “They are used only to produce statistics. The U.S Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The raw data and personal information will not be released to the public for 72 years, or in 2092. Confidentiality is a very important in census taking.”

The 2020 United States Census will be the nation’s twenty-fourth census. National Census Day, the reference used for the census, will be April 1, 2020.  It will be the first U.S. census to offer options to respond online or by phone, in addition to the option to respond on a paper form as with previous census. In 2020, the United States population is expected to be 333,546,000, an 8.03 percent increase from the 2010 Census.

Brown says that participating in the census is not only vitally important for neighborhoods, it also provides good, temporary, part-time work for hundreds of thousands of people,

“The Bureau will be recruiting and making job offers to thousands of potential employees during January and February 2020,” said Brown. “Census employees working throughout Alameda County can expect to receive a minimum of $20.00 per hour.”

To be eligible for a 2020 Census job, you must:

• Be at least 18 years of age.

• Have a valid social security number.

• Be a U.S. citizen.

• Have a valid email address.

• Complete an application and answer assessment questions.

• Be registered with the Selective Service System or have a qualifying exemption, if you are a male born after Dec. 31, 1959.

• Pass a census-performed criminal background check and a review of criminal records, including fingerprinting.

• Commit to complete training.

• Be available to work flexible hours, which can include days, evenings, and/or weekends.

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