FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - It’s been around since 1790 and is part of the United States constitution. Every 10 years, the U.S. government is required, by law, to take a census of all citizens living in the USA.
So far this year, just over 67% of Hoosier and Ohioan households have completed the census, which is just a little short of the response in 2010.
If you haven’t completed the census just yet, you’re encouraged to because it could negatively impact your community if you don’t.
Quinton Dixie, interim CEO of the Fort Wayne Urban League, who has been a community partner with the US Census, says resources available to them would be impacted if the community doesn’t have a total count of how many people live there.
"If a community is undercounted, that means it’s going to be underfinanced as well," Dixie said. "So, one of the reasons we continue to push people to take part in the census is so that we can get an accurate count and also get the resources we need to take care of our communities."
The financing comes from Congress, who allocates money based on census data.
More people mean more money. Tim Swarens, media specialist with the US Census Bureau, Chicago office, says it’s not just social services that’ll be impacted by an undercount.
"Very important local programs, roads, healthcare, education, all sorts of social services are funded, in part, by money that is distributed based on census data," Swarens said.
This means your child’s school could receive less government funding and your roads could be worse off due to lack of funds because of an undercount.
Not only that, but the 435 US House of Representative seats are also allocated by state population from the census data, meaning your political voice could become softer if everyone in the state isn’t counted.
Swarens explained, "States that are either stagnant or losing population are at risk of losing US house seats."
Currently, Dixie and other community partners with the US Census Bureau are targeting communities of color to participate in the census AND be census takers, so they have more responses.
"Traditionally, communities of colors have been those that have been under counted and have not participated at the same rate as other communities," Dixie said. "The concern is often the communities that are most vulnerable within our city are the ones that oftentimes participates the least."
One particular group of people Dixie says are traditionally concerned are those who are undocumented. He explained that the census information is kept separate from other government agencies, so undocumented families are not at risk of facing repercussions.
So, while on the surface it may just seem like something that’s required by law, the us census information does trickle down into our communities. "The more people we can get involved by sending in a copy themselves or going online and filing the census report, the better off we’ll be," Dixie said.
To learn more about the US Census, click here.