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April 1 is Census Day nationwide. The decennial census counts all people living in the U.S. and its territories every decade. This has been going on since 1790. Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution mandates that a census or enumeration be taken of its population once every 10 years. Everyone including citizens, noncitizens, infants, and seniors are counted once, only once, and in the right place.

The results of the 2020 Census determine how $675 billion in federal funding flows into communities every year for a decade. The funding and grants help shape the community through vital programs including SNAP, hospitals, fire departments, schools, transportation, roads, education, health care, emergency preparedness, affordable housing, and community development block grants. The census data also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the data is also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

The Census Bureau supports the precautions and restrictions that have been put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Census field operations have been suspended until April 1. The Census Bureau is taking steps to protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.

We encourage you to please complete your 2020 Census as soon as you receive it. You do not have to wait until April 1, and you can complete it in the comfort of your home. Just go online to my2020census.gov, call 844-330-2020, or mail the questionnaire in the postage paid return envelope.

If you have children in your home, make sure they are counted in the right place.

The general rule is: Count children in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there. If you've just had a baby and your baby is still in the hospital on Census Day (April 1), then count your baby at the home where he or she will live and sleep most of the time.

Your census responses are kept safe and secure. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect all personal information they collect and keep it strictly confidential, using your answers to produce statistics only. The Census Bureau takes strong precautions to keep online responses secure and safe from hacking and other cyberthreats. All data submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy, and the Census Bureau's cybersecurity programs meet the highest and most up-to-date standards for protecting personal information.

Help shape your community by completing the 2020 Census and tell 20 others to do the same! Take the pledge at bit.ly/commit2countar.

For more information, visit 2020census.gov. and for job application status visit 2020census.gov/jobs, or contact District 3 Justice of the Peace Esther Dixon, chair of the Hot Springs Local Complete Count Committee, at 501-276-2121.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau via 2020 Census Hot Springs Complete Count Committee.

Editorial on 03/22/2020

Print Headline: Don't let a virus keep you from being counted

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