2020 census to be mailed to Summit County residents starting this week
FRISCO — The 2020 census is upon us.
Invitations to respond to the decennial population count will begin to hit mailboxes in Summit County from March 12-20. New this year, residents can respond online, by mail or by phone.
There are four questions about the household on the census followed by questions about each person living in the home, according to a sample provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. There are no citizenship questions on the census.
The first four questions ask:
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- How many people are living or staying in this home on April 1, 2020?
- Were there any additional people staying in the home that weren’t included in the first answer? (i.e. people staying temporarily)
- Is the home owned or rented?
- What is your phone number?
The questions about each individual in the home include the person’s name, gender, birthday, Hispanic origin and race.
Julie Sutor, Summit County communications director, said if a household responds to the census by April 1, no one will come knocking on the door looking for census information. From May through July, census takers will visit homes where residents have not responded to the census.
When responding, Sutor said one person should reply on behalf of the whole household, which might include roommates, family members or someone who is crashing on the living room couch.
“Anybody who is living under your roof should be included,” Sutor said.
For census purposes, people should be counted only where they live most of the time, Sutor said. For example, if someone happens to be visiting April 1, they aren’t a member of the household. On the other hand, if someone is living in the house most of the time, like someone sleeping on the couch for most of the week, they are considered a member of the household. If someone has a second home in Summit County and happens to be there April 1, they should respond to the census based on their primary residence.
To help Summit County get as much representation as possible in this year’s census, Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said in January that the county had been awarded a $55,000 grant from the federal government to help with outreach efforts. That includes locally printing and mailing census reminders and instruction cards to every P.O. box attached to a physical residence, something the Census Bureau does not do.
Summit County’s response rate to the 2010 census was 72%, but officials hope to boost the response rate this time around.
Sutor explained why it is important to respond to the census.
“I think one of the biggest things is it really does reflect people’s representation at all levels of government,” Sutor said.
The census drives the number of House seats Colorado gets in Congress and affects the drawing of districts. Sutor also pointed out that census data helps guide the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding to various districts around the country, including fire stations and schools.
“It is a really quick questionnaire, and it is confidential and safe for people to respond,” Sutor said. “People’s privacy and all of their information is protected.”
Sutor explained that census employees swear an oath to protect people’s information and that individual information from the census isn’t shared with any other government agencies. Before data is published, it is aggregated in large sets in a way that wouldn’t disclose individual identities.
When should I receive my census invitation?
Will a census employee visit my house?
Only if you don’t respond to the census by April 1.
Will my information from the census be shared with other government agencies?
Your individual information will be kept private and will only contribute to data sets.
More frequently asked questions: Census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp/faqs.html.
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