Omaha – It might seem a long way off, but the 2020 Census is now just around the corner. Postcards are scheduled to arrive in mailboxes in about eight months, around March 15, 2020. Residents, for the first time in census history, will be able to go online to complete 10 simple questions like age, sex, race, and ethnicity that describe our population. The UNO Center for Public Affairs Research continues to be a key partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to help promote the census in Nebraska.
CPAR has developed and continues to update a webpage with 2020 Census information. Check it out for all things census. Second, CPAR has made and is sharing an infographic that highlights the importance of the census to Nebraska: Why the 2020 Census is Important to Nebraska. Notably, the federal government uses population-based formulas to return large portions of Nebraskans' tax dollars to the state each year. Per resident, Nebraska receives about $2,100 annually in federal funds for things like roads, education, and health-related programs. Thus, missing a resident or household can cost the state between $20,000 and $50,000 in lost revenue over a decade. Moreover, population counts determine federal political representation and state-level redistricting. Thus, the constitutional imperative of the census — to count everyone once and in the right place — is critical to Nebraska and our day-to-day lives.
In addition, CPAR helped organize and promote trainings on the Boundary and Annexation Survey, where local jurisdictions updated their official boundaries and helped the Census Bureau to define small area geographies and neighborhoods in rural Nebraska. CPAR reviewed local geographies for 53 of Nebraska’s 93 counties and partnered with the Metro Area Planning Agency and Douglas and Sarpy Counties to define neighborhoods in urban areas.
You, too, can help to promote the 2020 Census in Nebraska. Most importantly, talk about the census with others. Refer folks to the website and let us know if you want someone to speak about the census at a public meeting. CPAR is happy to provide copies of the census infographic for you to share. Expect to see increased mentions of the census in the months ahead. A national media campaign will begin soon with local trusted voices explaining the importance of the census and reminding us all that the census is safe, simple, and short, requiring only 10 minutes of time.
Also, let people know that the census is hiring. Various jobs to help promote the census are already being filled. Many census takers will need to be hired. These workers visit households that do not respond online or complete the paper form. With Nebraska’s labor force participation already among the highest in the nation and its unemployment among the lowest, finding workers with the appropriate skills can be a challenge. If you or someone you know is interested in a job visit 2020census.gov/jobs.
The census has occurred every decade since 1790 and it is a key program for understanding the current characteristics of the population of the United States — it tells America what America needs. CPAR encourages everyone to do your civic duty and complete any census questionnaires that come to your residence and to pass on the message.
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