Census collects data for funds

Weston Hopkins, Staff Writer

The process of the 2020 U.S. Census, which allows information to be acquired to help determine federal funding congressional representation and impact local communities, is underway.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the census can be taken over the phone, by a paper questionnaire through the mail or online. 

According to the California Census, “Your answers will help determine funding for dozens of programs that provide essential resources to Californians. Census data determines funding allocations for schools, child care programs, road maintenance projects and social assistance programs.”

Participating in the U.S. Census is required by law, even if you are not a U.S citizen. The census asks nine questions, with topics including age, sex, race, number of people living in a home, whether a home is rented or owned, and other things. 

When answering the census, U.S. residents should make sure that responses represent a household’s situation as of April 1 which is known as Census Day.

Participating in the census can be beneficial for California residents, as California has one of the hardest to count populations. The difficulty in counting California’s population could be due to a lack of a broadband subscription, vacant housing units, renter-occupied housing, or various other reasons. These situations can create a barrier to the census, which ultimately hurts California as a whole. 

In a student media teleconference held April 14 by the California Community Colleges, Chancellor Eloy Oakley detailed the importance of participating in the census.

“This is incredibly important because the resources that we need and the representation that you deserve as students will be impacted by how many people are counted in the census,” said Oakley. “This effort is essential to get a complete count of every member of the community so that students are fairly represented by our congressional leadership and that our colleges get their fair share of federal resources.”

Another function of the census is to inform the decisions of business owners. Information provided by the census provides business owners access to population trends and growth projections, both key factors when deciding when and where to open new businesses. 

For assistance or questions regarding the census, contact the Census Bureau at (844) 330-2020 for English or according to the census website you can “visit the Responding by Phone page for more information and for live agent support lines in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese or Japanese.”