Opinion | Joe Neguse: It is vital every one of us complete the 2020 census | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Joe Neguse: It is vital every one of us complete the 2020 census

Joe Neguse

As Colorado’s population grows and becomes more diverse, an accurate 2020 census count is more important than ever. Every 10 years, the Constitution requires us to count our population. The results determine where billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated: funding for our hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other critical resources that Coloradans use every day. Funding for programs like Head Start, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are all informed by the results of the census — critical programs that serve families and individuals throughout our community and lift up our most vulnerable populations. 

Put simply, an accurate count of Coloradans will shape our future and ensure our communities have the resources they need. 

While Colorado’s overall response rate is 66.5%, above the national average of 63.2%, only 26.3% of Summit County residents have filled out their 2020 census forms. We have a long way to go to ensure we are all counted. We must each do our duty and make sure our families, friends and neighbors all participate, too. You can track the response rates by state, county and congressional district at 2020Census.gov/en/response-rates.

Additionally, the new realities of COVID-19 have made it important for individuals to self-respond rather than waiting to be contacted by a census official. The U.S. Census Bureau has had to push back the start date for its in-person operations and only began hand-delivering census invitations to households with a post office box on May 18.

The people of Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Montezuma and throughout Summit County are depending on all of us to fill out our census forms so that we do not miss out on federal funds.

The census is confidential. It counts every person living in the U.S., regardless of age or citizenship status. Your data is safe and confidential, protected by law from being shared with law enforcement, immigration agencies or housing authorities.

It is easier than ever before to complete the census online, by phone or by mail. You can even respond in 13 languages online or by phone. You can fill out the census by visiting My2020Census.gov, calling 844-330-2020 or by filling out and mailing back a printed questionnaire, which tends to be sent to the households of people who have not responded online. However you choose to respond, the process takes minutes.

We are living in stressful and uncertain times, there is no doubt about that. But even now, we must take a few minutes to ensure that our communities are accurately represented for the next 10 years. The census is quick and easy: In just 10 minutes, you can fill out your questionnaire and help your community access the resources that they deserve. You can find the questions on the form at 2020Census.gov/en/about-questions. The deadline to complete this is Sept. 30.

It’s up to each of us to respond to the census and ensure an accurate count — our community is relying on it.

Congressman Joe Neguse represents Summit County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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