Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The constitution mandates that the federal government conducts a population census every ten years, and local and state governments are gearing up for the 2020 census.
The census provides vital information about communities throughout the country and guides the federal government in allocating funds.
Steve Hale, a partnership specialist with the census bureau, recently told Gardner city council that for the first time the bureau will utilize online programs to conduct the count.
“In the age of social media there are concerns for privacy even though the bureau is legally mandated to keep all information confidential and safe,” he said.
According to the bureau, the census provides vital information that determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress, and it’s is used to redraw district boundaries.
Communities also rely on census data to plan for a variety of community needs such as roads, schools and emergency services.
According to the bureau, businesses use census data to determine where to open businesses while each year the federal government uses the census data to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars to states and communities throughout the country.
The bureau has already launched partnership activities and is in the process of establishing count committees and opening offices.
Hale urged Gardner city council to establish a count committee which would include citizens willing to help spread the word on the upcoming census.
“We need voices from the business community, and people in the faith-based sector,” he said adding that it was important that the community gets an accurate count.
According to the bureau, April 1, 2020 is the designated census day. Bureau personnel will follow up with in-person visits to households that will not have responded online, and the president will receive the complete count by December 2020.
According to George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy, Kansas received over $6 billion in federal funds in 2016 through such programs as Medicaid, SNAP and special education grants. Currently there are 55 large federal spending programs.