The 2020 U.S. Census needs high participation

Published 6:03 pm Monday, January 20, 2020

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Having an accurate total of a city’s population is important for many reasons. It determines the needs of a community, like how much money is funneled into schools, community grant opportunities and how much demand is needed for transportation costs like roads and bridges.

To make sure Troup County gets its fair share of money from the federal government, all of its residents need to be sure to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census. We cannot overstate the importance of this document.

This year, the federal government is making it easier than ever. For the first time, the government is encouraging people to take the census online. That means it will only require some clicks of your mouse and it’ll be over.

Troup County has launched a Troup County Complete Count Committee to educate residents about the census. Many people will begin getting links and postcards in the mail in March with instructions on how to complete the document.

Valerie West, a member of the count committee representing Troup County, said we are doing our children in the county a real disservice if we don’t count them. She’s right. It’s important to count every person living in the household. Children under the age of 5 are historically one of the most undercounted populations in the country.

Also, Troup County as a whole could use some improvement in filling out the census. According to a news release from the county, only 72 percent of the county’s residents completed the last census.

The county also said some neighborhoods and demographics of Troup County had been historically challenging to count. That includes minorities, those in poverty, and individuals who use English as a second language. To prevent those with language or access barriers to be miscounted, the committee is working to enlist faith-based leaders, Troup County School System employees and the Troup-LaGrange library.

We also know there are concerns about competing the census due to potential penalties from the government. It is has been confirmed several times that the information reported in a census document cannot be used against a person. In fact, census workers are sworn to secrecy about census information for 72 years. If they share the information, they can face hefty fines from the government, including jail time.

So make sure you fill out the census in 2020. It’s an easy way to ensure our community gets the funding its earned.