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OUR VIEW: Please, fill out the census

On Wednesday, members of the Census Bureau, local churches and other local non-profits lined the area of Calumet Park and paraded through town encouraging the community to take the Census.

As of Wednesday, just 55.9 percent of LaGrange residents had responded to the U.S. census.

That rate doesn’t bode well for us. If you don’t already know, the Census is an important federal process that documents how the U.S. population is distributed, as well as other demographics that become determine statistics.

The government doesn’t collect this information for fun. The census is required to be completed every 10 years by the Constitution itself, and for good reason.

It determines political representation in Congress and the state legislature. It’s used to determine how much federal funding is allocated to different communities.

Our response rate here in Troup County was under 60 percent last time, too, and there were real, negative financial consequences because of that.

How much impact could your one form have? Quite a lot, it turns out. The Board of Commissioners discussed back in March that over a decade, each person counted in the county equates to about $1,600 in funding. That’s money that might go to our roads, our schools, our health care, our housing, our water, our first responders, our parks, our courts, our sanitation, and a bunch of other little things that we often take for granted.

If more people in our community don’t fill our their census, Troup County will lose out on untold millions of dollars over the next decade.

Maybe you’ve been busy, and we understand that. It’s a crazy, stressful time that we’re living in. But filling these 15 questions out will take no more than 10 minutes of your time.

And no, filling out the census isn’t handing over your information to big brother. Census bureau workers told us that when they canvassed on Wednesday, people were afraid of filling it out.

So it’s important to know that you will not be audited by the IRS or arrested by the feds because of filling out the census. It’s specifically designed with those concerns in mind.

The census bureau doesn’t share your personal identification information with other government agencies. It only shares the raw numbers and statistics that the government needs to make decisions about funding and other matters.

The deadline for filling out the census has been extended several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline is now Sept. 30. So please, if you haven’t already, fill it out.