Camden County College, the Freeholder Board and partners on the local, state and federal levels are working together to reinforce the importance of public participation in the 2020 Census and the impact of an accurate count on our community.
“An accurate census count means that our community gets the proper level of funding and the appropriate representation in Congress, but we can only get there if everyone understands what is at stake and participates,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services. “An accurate count is critical to the effective operation of government at all levels.”
Each decade, the United States Census Bureau is required to take a count of America’s population. This count is used to determine how many representatives each state receives in Congress; to redraw district boundaries; to determine the need for new infrastructure such as roads, schools, and emergency services; and by businesses determining where to open stores and locations.
Some populations have historically been more difficult to count than others, including those living in poverty, the homeless, children, and racial and ethnic minorities. The addition of political rhetoric, surrounding a possible U.S. citizenship question that will not appear on next year’s census, has raised concerns that obtaining an accurate count will be even harder than in previous years.
“We have left money on the table for decades because of undercounts in our community,” Rodriguez said. “That causes a ripple effect that touches all government services as we are forced to shift funds from other areas to cover what we lost in federal dollars. This affects everyday social services but also our ability to fund road maintenance and school improvements.”
To ensure an accurate count, officials are emphasizing that the Census is safe, secure and 100 percent confidential. Census data is not shared with other federal agencies, local officials, or law enforcement.
For more information regarding participation in the 2020 Census, how to respond to the Census questionnaire, and why every response is critical, residents are encouraged to visit www.2020census.gov.