Library wants to ensure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census
Along with voting, being counted in the U.S. Census is one of the most patriotic activities an individual can perform.
Beginning in mid-March, every home in the United States will receive a postcard in the mail that serves as an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Residents can respond for their household in one of three ways: online, by phone or by mail.
To ensure the community is ready to participate, Heights Libraries will be encouraging community members to learn about the 2020 Census with informational programs and fliers; comprehensive answers to common questions about the census process, including issues of security and privacy; and a special Web page of census-related resources.
The library will kick off its efforts on Monday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., at the Lee Road branch, with “The 2020 Census: What You Need to Know.” Audrey Wynne, a partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, will discuss why getting a complete census count is critical for future funding to Cuyahoga County, and will also answer questions about the census.
“The data collected by the census has a profound impact on communities,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “Decisions about the amount of money spent on roads, where hospitals are built, how many new schools open and how many representatives states get in the House of Representatives are all determined by census data, so we will be ready to help our citizens understand the process and get their forms filled out, whether online, over the phone or on paper.”
Inaccurate population counts can lead to inadequate funding for necessary services. According to Flo Gutierrez from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the 2010 census undercounted children under five years old by 10%, which directly lead to funding cuts for nutrition, education and social support services for these children.
In addition to making focused efforts to reach the undercounted—groups such as African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx, immigrants, and the very young—this year’s census will also focus on possible technical challenges. For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to collect the majority of its data online. This will likely raise questions with citizens about Internet access, as well as data security.
“We want to make sure people understand that filling out the census is a safe process that will benefit our community,” said Levin. “That’s why we’re making sure folks have access to accurate information at each of our branches, as well as on our website. It only comes around once every 10 years, so we don’t want to miss our chance to be counted.”
Comprehensive Census 2020 information can be found at http://www.2020Census.gov and http://www.heightslibrary.org.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.