Message from SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez –
New Year’s resolutions typically firm our resolve to undertake some form of self-improvement. Getting in shape, reading more, and improving your finances come to mind.
This year, how about doing something that will be good for you, your community and South Carolina. Be counted in the federal census!
Once the census is completed the U.S. government uses the data to divide among the states as much as $675 billion in federal funding. So there’s a real dollars and cents impact of not filling out the census form. According to The Post & Courier the 2000 census undercounted South Carolina’s population by about 48,000 people. Over the last decade the state missed out on $60 million in federal funding.
Another way to look at it is that each South Carolina resident not counted represents $2,900 in federal funds that will go to other states.
In South Carolina, state funding to localities is distributed on a per capita basis. Unlike the federal government, the state can’t print money, so the pie of funding is fixed. If the population of one county grows, it will get a bigger slice, but other slices will get thinner. If you want your roads to get fixed, fill out the census.
College towns, particularly those in rural and less populated areas, recognize that SCICU colleges and universities can have an outsized impact on the local population because students can declare the campus as their permanent residence. Campus participation in the census is a way of being a good neighbor. Following is a link that answers questions regarding campuses, students, and the census: https://censuscounts.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/GCPI-ESOI-College-and-Universities-fact-sheet-20191203.pdf.
Census data will not impact representation for the 2020 election, but will be used for redistricting for the following 10 years. How many congress members South Carolina gets, who they will be and which legislators will represent you in D.C. and Columbia, all depends on the census.
Two important facts about the 2020 census:
You can fill it out the census online. While students living on campus will be contacted by administrators, the rest of us will receive a paper copy in the mail, but you’ll be able to complete it online or by phone.
No citizenship question. Pursuant to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer, the Census Bureau has decided not to ask the status of citizens.
The following is a 2020 timeline provided by the Census Bureau:
- January 21: The U.S. Census Bureau starts counting the population in remote Alaska. The count officially begins in the rural Alaskan village of Toksook Bay.
- March 12 – 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.
- March 30 – April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.
- April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
- April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
- May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
- December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
So fill out the census. Even if you get to the end of 2020 and you haven’t run a marathon, polished off War and Peace, or retired early, you’ll enjoy the sense of accomplishment of having done something important for all of us.