The census findings are essential in these times
It turns out, the federal mechanism for determining how many people are living where — and therefore how to distribute, for example, healthcare funding — has been derailed by COVID-19.
Census 2020 workers have already been told to temporarily suspend field operations and push back deadlines. But the numbers provided by the census are essential. They help us determine everything from congressional representation to federal spending for the next decade.
As Albert E. Fontenot Jr., associate director for Decennial Programs of the U.S. Census Bureau, pointed out earlier this month, funding for hospitals, clinics, emergency preparedness, and school lunch programs — precisely the areas in which we need the greatest support right now –is based on population figures collected during the census.
If that little envelope has already made it to your address, don’t wait for a person to show up asking questions or issue a reminder. Fill out the required information now. Distracted because your kids are home all the time right now? Let them see you filling it out and use it as an opportunity for a lesson in civic engagement and political science.
COVID-19 and our nation’s necessary effort to stop its spread have disrupted a lot in a very short period. We already know the effect it had on our primary elections — particularly in Ohio. (And Ohio voters MUST ensure the changes made to their primary do not keep them from casting their ballots). Do not let this virus stop you from filling out and sending in the information that will give an accurate picture of our population. Failing to count every resident could do harm for many years to come.