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Posted on: March 2, 2020

Shape Your Future with the 2020 Census

What is the Census?

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States mandates a complete count of citizens every ten years.  This count is known as the Census, and it includes people living in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories.  This year marks the 24th time the country has conducted a population count since 1790.

Beginning in mid-March, the Census Bureau will send out instructions to each household, detailing how to respond either online, over the phone, or by mail.  It is important that every living person in the home is counted, no matter their age, as federal funding to an area is determined by its population based on this Census count.  As the Census is only taken every ten years, an inaccurate count can negatively affect funding for roads, hospitals, schools and emergency services for at least a decade. 

What Should You Expect?

When the Census began in 1790, the opportunity for personal information to be misused was not much of a concern, if any.  However, in today’s society, scam artists are constantly finding new methods of identity theft.  Sadly, fear of this may keep some people from completing their Census information, which would then have a negative effect on the community as a whole. 

So, how can you keep from becoming the victim of a Census scam?  Education.

There’s a complete article on Avoiding Fraud and Scams at 2020Census.gov, but here are a few major points of interest:
* You will not receive unsolicited emails from the Census Bureau
* The Census Bureau will NEVER ask for your Social Security number, your 
bank account or credit card information, or any monetary donations
* Census takers will not come to your home if you have already completed
your Census online, over the phone, or by mail
      * You should only receive a phone call from the Census Bureau if you have 
already completed your Census and they have follow-up questions.

If you do not complete your Census early, Census takers will begin visiting homes in May to make sure everyone is counted.  You can verify the identity of a person at your door by:
* Checking their ID badge, which should contain their photograph, a U.S. 
Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date
* Calling the Census Bureau at 800-923-8282 to verify a Census taker is at 
your home.
The best way to protect yourself from potential Census scam artists is to be proactive and complete your Census the first time you receive instructions on how to do so.  This will guarantee that no one will come to your door, and you will already know the questions are asked and answered if there are follow-up phone calls. 

Your information will, by law, remain confidential.  Records are only released after 72 years, allowing your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren an historical family perspective.

2020Census.gov is a great resource to learn what types of questions to expect (and what will NOT be asked), and why it’s important for every person to be counted.

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