Former Deputy Treasurer Edward Walker, now an employee with the U.S. Census Bureau, provided the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees with an update on the 2020 decennial census at the start of the Oct. 21 monthly meeting.
“It is vital that we get everyone counted, and we’re going to count everyone once – and only once – and in the right place,” Walker said.
The Morgan Lewis Municipal Boardroom was filled with Lewiston-Porter High School students, on hand to receive credit for class. To them, Walker explained, “The numbers that we generate in the census next year are going to cover what determines and shapes events in your life for the next 10 years.”
Census results are necessary, Walker said, because numbers determine the number of representatives each state receives in Congress for the following decade. That, in turn, determines $675 billion in federal funding; legislative and school districts; and voting precincts.
Walker said participation is “important, safe and easy.”
He noted there will be four ways to participate in the census surveying: online, by phone, on paper (mail), or via a personal visit with a census employee. Details are online at https://www.2020census.gov/.
The census date is April 1. Between March 12-20, households will receive an invitation to respond online. A reminder letter will follow, set to be distributed March 16-24. For those yet to respond, a reminder postcard will be mailed March 26 to April 3. Another reminder – this time a letter and paper questionnaire – will be sent out April 8-16. Finally, a second postcard will be issued April 20-27, coupled with a personal visit.
Final information is due to the president by Dec. 31.
Individuals will be asked questions including their name, age, date of birth, race, origin, if they’re Hispanic, and relationship to the head of household.
Data will be encrypted. Moreover, information collected for the census is confidential and, by law, cannot be disclosed to any person or agency, at any time, or for any reason.
Walker said the biggest challenge in collecting data is fraud.
“There’s already been incidences across the country of fraud where political parties – both sides of the line, for that matter – have taken what looks like a census survey, put our name on it, and gone out and solicited funds,” he said. “At the end of it, they ask you to make a donation to your favorite political party. That’s fraud.”
He noted the Census Bureau will never ask people for their full Social Security number or bank/credit card numbers, nor for donations or anything political.
Census jobs are available. For more information, visit www.2020census.gov/jobs.