Why the census matters to you

GUEST COMMENTARY
Need a refresher on the U.S. Census?
Here are some key points:

• Everyone counts. The U.S. Census counts every person living in the United States once every 10 years.
• Your privacy is protected. Information collected through the census is 100% confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
• The census is more convenient than ever. In 2020, you can complete the census online. People can also respond by phone and mail.
• Much like voting, being counted is a critical civic duty. The census determines federal funding for local communities and essential services, shapes congressional representation, impacts legislative districts and much more.
• Census questions are simple. The U.S. Census form will ask questions about the number of people living in each household on April 1, 2020, including name, age, gender, race, date of birth, relationship status, phone number and whether the home is owned or rented.
• Count me in! We’re counting on everyone to ensure a thorough and accurate count for Michigan.

To ensure an accurate count, people should count themselves where they live and sleep most of the time. Here are tips on how to make sure you’re counted in the right place:

• If you have children, including newborns who usually live and sleep at your home, make sure to count them. If they split time evenly between two households, count them where they are on April 1, 2020.
• If you recently moved count yourself at your new address if you moved in by April 1, 2020.
• If you rent count yourself where you live.
• If you’re a college student who doesn’t live in a dorm, count yourself at your off-campus address.
• If you’re a service member who doesn’t live in military barracks and you aren’t deployed or stationed outside the United States, count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time.
• If you live in a group living facility such as college dorms, military barracks, nursing homes, group homes, shelters, psychiatric facilities or correctional facilities, a representative from your living facility will help make sure you get counted.
• If you live in another state during winter but spend at least 50% of your time in Michigan, use your Michigan address when completing your census form.

What’s at Stake
for Michigan
Critical Federal Funding
The more Michigan residents counted in 2020, the more federal funding our state will receive for critical programs including:
• Medicare/Medicaid/Health Centers
• SNAP/WIC/School Lunch
• Education (IDEA, Head Start, Literacy Programs)
• Infrastructure (Highways, Roads, Bridges)
• Housing (Section 8, Rural Rental Assistance)
• Children (Childcare, S-CHIP, Foster Care)
Congressional
Representation
MI could also lose a congressional seat and see a reduction in Electoral College votes if we do not achieve an accurate count.

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