This March, the United States Census Bureau will begin distributing the census, which is a short questionnaire intended to count the number of individuals living in the U.S.
Participation in the U.S. Census is incorporated in the Constitution and mandatory for all currently living in the U.S. The collected data will serve as a guideline to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and distribute federal funds for social programs, infrastructure and more. The count will also be used for further research and analysis.
This year marks the first time the census questionnaire will be accessible online, but individuals can also submit their census by filling out a paper form or over the phone.
People can view the questions that will appear on the form ahead of time by visiting the Census Bureau’s website.
The Editorial Board urges all individuals living in the Philadelphia area to complete the census. Philadelphia loses $2,100 in funding annually for each person not counted in the census, according to Gabriela Raczka, an engagement manager with Philly Counts 2020.
These funds could benefit the everyday lives of Philadelphians, as information from the census determines funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.
Census information also determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has declined in Pennsylvania from 36 to 18 seats since 1910, according to the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
The Editorial Board also encourages students who are interested in the census process to attend a census champion training session to learn more about how the census works and how to spread awareness about the process, according to Philly Counts 2020.
Potential undercounting could affect state funding, research and representation for the next 10 years, which is why it is essential for all individuals currently living in the U.S. to participate.
Additional information for students:
- College students should be counted in the place where they live and sleep most often as of April 1, 2020, according to the official census website.
- Students should not count on landlords to fill out the census for them, the website further states.
- The census includes citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors and undocumented immigrants.
- The census form will be available online or by phone in 12 different languages, according to the City of Philadelphia website.