LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The City of Lufkin understands how important it is for residents to be counted in the 2020 Census; that’s why its considering launching a Complete Count Committee to educate and motivate residents to participate in the census.
When community members are informed, they are more likely to respond to the census, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Through collaborative partnerships like this, the U.S. Census Bureau and community leaders can reach the shared goal of counting everyone in 2020.
“The census committee is a cross-section of all races and ethnic backgrounds, so we make sure that we complete everyone that wants to be counted in the census county for 2020," said Robert Shankle, city council ward 2.
Shankle said the reason why it’s so important for everyone to be counted isn’t just for the sake of population size; the census helps secure a city’s funding and helps with representation.
When asked whether missing the census mattered, “it’s not going to get you penalized on any kind of program you’re on or things like that,” Shankle explained. “If anything, it’s going to help the city and you as a citizen to fill it out so we can offer more programs and different things like that.”
“There’s always going to be hard-to-count areas, every community has those,” said Jason Arnold, assistant city manager. “We want to be able to serve our community the best we can, and one way of doing that is to have a very good, very accurate count.”
The primary goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once and in the right place. Community influencers create localized messaging that resonates with the population in their area.
On Tuesday, March 19, the Lufkin City Council will consider launching its own complete count committee. Arnold said the measure would likely pass, considering the “wheels were already in motion.”
“The first steps are to identify the areas that are going to be hard to count, and how we’re going to tackle those areas,” said Arnold. “You’re going to see a complete count committee about at the different festivals and events.”
One of the concerns Arnold said he hears about most has to do with the amount of personal information census interviewees are asked to provide.
“We’ll tell you whatever we need to to help alleviate those worries,” Arnold explained. “We can explain the whole process, that that information cannot be shared. The Census Bureau doesn’t even shared it with other departments in the federal government, they’re not allowed to, it’s illegal.”
The U.S. census will be tallied on April 1. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.