The United States Constitution requires an accurate count of our entire population every 10 years – your chance returns in April, 2020. Is there a more fundamental, more basic task of citizenship? Consider this: while you’re not required to vote, United States residents are required by law to participate with the census. And does your census help Globe-Miami? You bet! Population totals could increase Arizona’s delegation to congress. Census data helps determine how much money Gila County distributes via federal, state and local social service programs that help low-income elderly and single moms. Census data’s crucial for economic development and block grant applications.
One year ago Gila County’s Board of Supervisors appointed a Census 2020 Complete Count Committee to boost awareness of the coming census, dispel myths, encourage participation and host informational booths at the Gila County Fair and other public events continuing through ‘Census Day’ next April.
Questions? Here are a few of the more common ones local residents are asking along with answers easily found at census2020.gov.
Q. How are we supposed to be counted? And if I do the census online or by phone, how does the Census Bureau know I have completed it and will that keep a census worker from knocking to my door?
A. Responding to the 2020 Census will be easy for everyone to participate in. For the first time, you can choose to respond online, by phone, by mail or when a census taker arrives at your door. Participating in the 2020 Census is easy, important and safe, and should take just a few minutes to complete. Most households will receive a letter from the Census Bureau in March 2020 inviting them to respond to the census online. We want people to respond online as soon as they get this invitation. By responding promptly, households can minimize the chance of a visit by a census taker.
The last day to respond to the census online is July 31, 2020. Its important to understand that we will begin following up with households as early as May 2020. The sooner you respond, the fewer reminders we’ll need to send, and the fewer taxpayer dollars we’ll need to spend to get a complete count.
Q. I already filled out the census! Why are they coming to my house?
A. Self-response for the 2020 Decennial Census will begin in March, 2020 and end in July, 2020. It has not started yet! You may have been visited by a Census employee as part of a number of ongoing surveys, such as the American Community Survey, or as part of the Address Canvassing operation, which took place from August-through-October. Updated address lists are a critical component to a successful census: before they can count you, they need to know where to count you. Having a complete address list is the best way to make sure we count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.
Information about how to verify whether a survey you have received is from the Census Bureau can be found at census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp.html
Q. How can you assure me that my answers and information are confidential?
A. Federal law protects your census responses. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics. Our cybersecurity program meets the latest, highest standards for protecting your information. From the moment we collect your responses, our goal and legal obligation is to keep them safe. Additionally, Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your information. We have sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of your data. We could go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 if we violate that oath.
Q. If you’re in the military and serving out-of-state or overseas, but you consider Payson or Pine-Strawberry your home, what do you list on your census form?
A. For the 2020 Census, we plan to change where the census counts military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are temporarily deployed overseas on Census Day (April 1). The 2020 Census will count military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are temporarily deployed overseas at their usual home address in the United States, as part of the resident population, instead of their home state of record. If you don’t live in military barracks and you aren’t deployed or stationed outside the United States, count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time, whether on or off base.
Q. We don’t have mailboxes in our street and mail isn’t delivered to my house, we have PO Boxes.
A. In areas with non “city-style” addresses, such as rural route numbers, Census staff will deliver a form to your door.
Q. I applied for a Census job but didn’t hear back. Why? And can I still apply if I haven’t already?
A: The Census Bureau will hire hundreds of thousands of census takers to follow up with households that don’t respond to the census, and are recruiting for these positions now, and through February. Job offers for field positions are made about 60 days prior to training for each field operation. Apply at 2020census.gov/jobs. Having trouble with your application? Call 1-855-JOB-2020
Q. For those living on any of three Apache Nations here in Gila County, will there be something clarifying if the number reported to HUD (housing) is different, or higher? Also -- will US Census share information with HUD (tribal housing?)
A. By law, your responses to the Census cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way. The Census Bureau will not share an individual’s responses with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or allow that information to be used to determine eligibility for government benefits. Title 13 makes it very clear that the data we collect can only be used for statistical purposes—we cannot allow it to be used for anything else. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that even addresses are confidential and cannot be disclosed through legal discovery or the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Q. Are non-citizens getting the census?
A. Yes. The Constitution requires the census to count every resident in the nation — whether they are citizens or not.
Q. Is the Gila County Form different from the US form?
A. No. A sample of the 9-question, bilingual paper questionnaire that will be used during the 2020 Census is available at census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/2020/technical-documentation/questionnaires-and-instructions/questionnaires/2020-informational-questionnaire.pdf