Omaha – The Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) at UNO helped organize a 2020 Census kickoff in Lincoln last February. Opening remarks on the importance of the Census, namely money and power in the per capita federal funds received and political representation, were given by Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley and Lincoln city councilman Carl Eskridge. Cathy Lacy, director of the Denver Regional Census office, led the program, which centered on new census innovations for 2020, the timeline of activities, and recruiting and hiring for census jobs.
In July, CPAR hosted a series of meetings at UNO for Omaha-area residents involved in the Census. Kickoff activities included meetings with federal stakeholders, local government officials, the governor’s census liaison, and a community dialogue with activists interested about the census count. Listening sessions and brainstorming activities provided ideas on the best messaging for local residents regarding the importance of participating in the census.
Geographic programs have been a focus of these early census meetings. Local governments can participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA), which allows entities to review, correct, and update the residential address file the Census Bureau uses in its mailings. Local governments often have a better address list for new housing developments, and also know if such addresses reside inside or outside their municipal boundary lines. Time is of the essence for LUCA, as governments must agree to participate by December 15, 2017.
LUCA and census partnerships were highlighted at CPAR’s 28th Annual Data Users Conference on August 16. Over 200 participants learned about 2020 Census activities during the day, as well as had the opportunity to talk with Census experts about what lies ahead.
The next stop on the road to the 2020 Census are informational meetings in Grand Island on Sept. 12 and Scottsbluff on Sept. 19. CPAR is promoting these events, which will focus on LUCA and the Boundary and Annexation Survey to ensure communities provide their correct boundary lines to the Census Bureau. The census timeline, partnerships, and hiring for jobs will also be discussed. Those interested can RSVP at https://unomaha.formstack.com/forms/census2020.
It will be an interesting couple of years as the census questions become finalized, a slogan for the census is developed, and forms begin arriving in the mail. Stay informed to do your part and be counted in the Census, mandated by the Constitution. Mark your calendars to learn more at CPAR’s next Data Users Conference on August 15, 2018.
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