Committee to be formed to aid in 2020 Census
Harrison County is taking steps to prepare the head count that is the 2020 Census. The constitutional mandate is required every 10 years to determine population, tax appropriation and many other aspects of how the country and governments operate.
To help get a full and accurate count, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners are taking part in forming a complete count committee. With an accurate number, the county and towns will ensure they receive the correct portion of the $675 billion in federal funds that annually supports the country. This money impacts housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and other public policy.
“We would like for you all to partner with us in educating the residents,” said Rebecca Valois, a Census Bureau representative.
Valois, who works for the regional Census Bureau office out of Chicago, said she would be the liaison for the committee, which would include other people the community would know.
“We would pull in the trusted voices in the community,” Valois said. “Religious leaders, schools, just to get the message out to these hard-to-count populations.”
Valois said the most under-counted people are children up to 5 years old because parents don’t think the children are counted or due to split custody between a mother and father and neither guardian is sure which one will count a child.
“It is very important that we count everyone in your community so you get credit for everyone who is residing and utilizing your resources,” Valois said.
The committee can be any size, and, during Monday night’s discussion at the Government Center, it was brought up to bring in the 10 township trustees to help get out the word.
“We come up with ideas, we brainstorm and we think of ways, things you have in your community to get the message out,” Valois said.
Next year, residents can fill out the Census survey online for the first time.
“In the past, we always had something that came through the mail, filled it out and sent it in,” said Commissioner Jim Heitkemper.
Valois said he’ll get that again.
Census survey information is expected to hit homes sometime around March and April, but surveys do not get sent to a post office box. A Census employee will drop the survey off at those homes.
“I always thought it was harmless,” Heitkemper said.
The Census collects the surveyor’s name, address, birthday and race of all the people in the home.
“It’s not shared with (the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development),” Valois said. “It’s confidential. That is kind of the message we need to get out. It’s not shared with (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The Census cannot share that information that they gather.”
The commissioners and Valois agreed to have the first meeting to form the committee on the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Valois said the Census Bureau is also providing jobs, which pays $21.50 per hour. It had been $15 an hour.
“We’re desperate for employees,” she said.