SIERRA VISTA — On April 1, the 2020 Census will get underway and the importance of getting every household in Cochise County to fill out the form is critical to obtaining a correct count.

With many federally–funded social programs reliant on the count as well as the number of seats in the House of Representatives, it is essential to get everyone living in the county. counted. The count impacts initiatives for health care, housing, foster care, school lunch programs and highway construction, according to Amanda Baillie, county public information officer, in a press release.

To help residents understand how the census works, a workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Cochise College Community Room, 901 Colombo Ave., in Sierra Vista. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. The workshop is free and open to all county residents and organizations.

“The Census Solutions Workshop is designed to bring diverse people and organizations together to find solutions to reaching hard-to-count populations,” Baillie said in her release.

The event is co-sponsored by the Cochise County Census Complete Count Committee, The Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, Cochise College, Small Business Development Center, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Every 10 years a nationwide census is taken and extra effort has to be made to reach hard–to–count populations such as the elderly, children under the age of five, low-income families, military members, people in rural communities and non-English speakers, she explained.

Going paperless

The 2020 Census differs from those in the past. The census questionnaire can be filled out online, as well as over the phone, or through a paper questionnaire, according to the Census 2020 website. Directions for filling out the form are included. Each person living in the household must be counted.

The U.S. Constitution requires that electoral districts be periodically adjusted or redrawn to account for population shifts. Each decade, the census reveals where populations have risen or fallen. “State legislatures or independent bipartisan commissions handle the process of redrawing congressional district lines. The Census Bureau provides population counts to the states for this purpose.”

All personal information is kept confidential as bound by federal law, notes the website. Every employee must take an oath to protect all personal information gathered. Data is used only for statistical purposes.

People will be receiving 2020 Census information by Apr. 1.

The census also collects data that is valuable for businesses, which rely on results to help make decisions such as where to open new stores, where to expand operations, and which products and services to offer.

The questions

How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020?

This will allow the census staff to count the entire U.S. population and ensure that we count people according to where they live on Census Day. Those people in senior care facilities, jails, prison or detention facilities will be counted through the institutions. A person who does not have a permanent place to live, but is residing at a location on April 1, must be counted.

Is the home owned or rented?

This provides statistics about home ownership and renting. The rates of home ownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy. They also help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.

About the sex of each person in your home.

This creates statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations and policies against discrimination.

About the age of each person in your home.

The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults.

About the race of each person in your home.

This allows us to create statistics about race and to provide other statistics by racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

About the relationship of each person in your home.

This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.

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