LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The City of Lufkin understands how important it is for residents to be counted in the 2020 Census; that’s why it is stressing the importance of educating and motivating 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 primary goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once and in the right place. 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.
On Tuesday, March 19, the Lufkin City Council will consider launching its own complete count committee. Jason Arnold, assistant to the city manager of Lufkin, said the measure would likely pass, considering the “wheels were already in motion.”
One of the concerns Arnold has 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 during a related interview in March 2019. “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.”
Efforts have been heightened between the city and county to ensure that everyone is counted in the census. There is a strategic plan to be sure those of the homeless population are accurately counted.
“Starting April 1 there is a very specific way they go about,” said Jason Arnold, who is on the complete count committee. “What they’ll do is hit some of the shelters, and some of the different agencies that serve the homeless population.”
If they feel like they are still missing some of those people, “They’ll actually go out into the areas where they’ve known to have homeless persons congregate. They’ll go out and make contact with them and count them that way,” said Arnold.
For group living, they’ll send workers out too.
“It may be nursing facilities, it may be jails, it may be dormitories,” Arnold said. “Those, they actually have a very specific strategy for those as well.”
Starting April 1st residents can count themselves online or through a survey the Census Bureau sends in the mail.
“If for whatever reason your family hasn’t been counted, either online or through the mail, that’s when the bureau will send out door knockers,” said Arnold.
Due to the confidentiality of their work, census workers get sworn in to keep all information anonymous for life.
“Those particular census workers, when they push enter in on their tablets, that information isn’t’ available to them anymore,” Arnold said.
New this year, there is a question that’s been removed.
“There’s that big issue going back and forth about the citizenship question,” Arnold said. “When it was all said and done, that was ruled that they’re not going to put that on the census. So anyone who was worried about that for whatever reason doesn’t have to. That’s not going to be on the census at all.”
The committee encourages everyone to get counted as soon as possible. Agencies and services that are funded will be positively or negatively impacted based on response.
The U.S. Census will be tallied on April 1. The census takes place every 10 years.