Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone living in the United States. This is a mammoth undertaking and it is incredibly important to make sure every person is counted once – only once – in the right place. Why is this so important to you, your family and our community?

First, it means millions of dollars in federal programing dollars for residents. Data from the census provide the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities like ours to support vital programs—housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. It is conservatively estimated that each person represents $2,300 in dollars per year. With the Census occurring each decade, if just 100 people are not counted, that means a loss of $2,300,000 for Cobb County.

Secondly, results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets. Georgia gained a congressional seat after the last census, increasing our voice in Congress. State officials also use population counts to redraw legislative districts at the local, state and federal levels.

Thirdly, census information is used by businesses to plan for relocation, expansion, new business concepts and more. Governmental planners use the data to project future needs of their residents like senior centers, hospitals, and offer economic development grants.

Beginning in mid-March, households will receive a notice in the mail to complete the Census. Everyone should be counted where they are as of April 1 and households are expected to respond during the month of April. Additional reminders to respond will be sent during April. In 2020, for the first time ever, the Census Bureau will accept responses online and by phone. But, households can still respond by mail. There are only 10 questions requesting basic information. Responding should take only a few minutes, but is incredibly important.

Census information is confidential and not shared with any other government agency. The Census will never ask for private or personal information. That includes Social Security numbers, bank or credit card account numbers, money/donations or anything on behalf of a political party.

Let’s all take a few minutes to help our community. Every. One. Counts.