Officials across Gibson County are encouraging citizens to be counted in the 2020 Census.
Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. The results also determine how many seats in Congress each state gets, and the census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
“For small communities like Dyer, the census can be especially important,” said City Recorder Nathan Reed, who also serves on the Gibson County Commission. “State and federal funds are distributed based on certified population. For example, for the current year, the State of Tennessee returns about $38 per person per year to be used for public works projects like streets, drainage, and sidewalk projects. For communities like ours, an accurate count is vitally important to make certain we get our fair share of state and federal grants and funds. I know it can be a pain, but I would encourage everyone to respond to requests for census information. Our goal is 100% participation in Dyer and Gibson County.”
Once every decade, the federal government conducts a census of the entire population to county everyone in the U.S. and record basic information about them. Invitations to respond to the census will be delivered between March 12-20. Once you receive the invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail. The invitation will include a unique identification code called a Census ID. Using the Census ID helps the bureau keep track of responses and prevent duplication; however, the Census ID is not required in order to respond online or by telephone.
P.O. Box holders will be visited in person at their home by a census employee with proper identification.
Everyone living in your home in March 2020 needs to be counted. This includes children and newborn babies, citizens and non-citizens, relatives and non-relatives, and even those staying with you temporarily.
Strict federal law protects your census responses. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies an individual or business. Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,00 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both. No law enforcement agency can access or use your personal information at any time. Data collected can only be used for statistical purposes that help inform important decisions, including how much federal funding your community receives.
The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank or credit card account numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.
The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program that incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
“The census is much more than just a head count,” said Greater Gibson County Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Libby Wickersham. “It provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where to build new schools, hospitals, and businesses, how federal funding is distributed, and how congressional seats are apportioned. It also helps us see how our communities have changed over time. That’s why an accurate count is so important.”
If you need assistance completing the census or know someone who needs assistance, please contact the Greater Gibson County Area Chamber of Commerce at 855-0973.