Census 2020: Count Yourself In!

20:00 March 23, 2020
By: Staff

Over the past week or so, we have all received a letter in the mail requiring us to get online and fill out our information for the 2020 Census. While it seems there are a lot of conspiracy theorists and naysayers who are worried about "Big Brother," please try to keep an open mind and consider what the census actually can do for you.

To begin, the most obvious reason to complete your census survey is to avoid a fine or even jail time. According to United States Code, Title 13, if you are over the age of 18 and refuse to answer all or part of the census, you can be fined $100. If you give false answers, you are subject to a $500 fine. Finally, if you offer information with the "intent to cause inaccurate enumeration" (read as being a troll), you are subject to a fine up to $1000, up to a year in prison, or both. Gathering this valuable information ain't no joke! Census participation is required by the United States Constitution, which calls for an "actual enumeration" every decade since the late 1700s.

Other than avoiding fines or jail, completing your part creates a more finely honed tool, which is invaluable to our democracy, serving as the bedrock for fair political representation. Just think about this: Without accurate population counts in the state of Louisiana, how are we to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives? Every state in the country needs fair representation. Also, census data is used by our state and local governments to redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries in order to meet the one-person, one-vote rule.

Our state government and local non-profit organizations use census data to determine the public's need, like investments in new schools, hospitals, and roads. The information is also invaluable to businesses, both large and small. Just as an example, the census data from 2010 was used to distribute more than $676 billion in federal money to states and local communities for health, education, housing and infrastructure programs in 2015. Just think of how a meticulous census would help asses federal funding for our current crisis.

In all honesty, what else do you have to do?

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