Get Counted! Census 2020 provides critical data for school funding

“Shape your future. START HERE.” The 2020 Census, the official count of every person living in the United States and its territories, launches this month. In the coming weeks, we will see thousands of announcements, flyers, news reports and social media postings in the coming weeks with the new tagline and the importance of getting counted.

What I cannot stress enough is the IMPORTANCE of an accurate count for our schools. The Census is much more than a U.S. population count every decade; it is a massive data collection that provides critical information to ensure our schools – as one beneficiary – get the most funding and support possible from state and federal sources. It only serves us better knowing how many people live in our city, state and nation.

For example, data collected in the 2020 Census will inform the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds for more than 100 programs, including school lunches and education, to states and communities each year.

Results of the census impact funding for things like: schools and education, health care facilities, housing assistance, public transportation, child and adult food assistance programs, assistance for people transitioning out of homelessness, career and technical education grants, and Medicare Part B.

Businesses, community leaders, and local governments use census data to create jobs, ensure public safety preparedness, and support community initiatives.

The count of our kids is especially important. The 2020 Census helps determine which areas qualify for the critical resources that children and families depend on for the next 10 years — basically an entire childhood!

But consider this: An estimated 5 percent of kids under the age of five were missed in the 2010 Census. At about 1 million babies and young children, that’s the largest undercount of any age group!!!

We must COUNT THE KIDS!

The Census – as an effort to count well over 300 million people – is a massive undertaking. And so Atlanta Public Schools is on board to help create awareness and assist in our small way in the count with targeted outreach to APS families and stakeholders.

Working with Georgia Voices for Children, we have participated in Public Service Announcements, which we will also air on WABE, WPBA and our social media channels. We have also prepared emails, posters, and articles to get the word out.

So here are some other critical instructions.

In mid-March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. By April 1, 2020, you will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

You should respond at the address where you are living or staying on Census Day — April 1, 2020.

The 2020 Census marks the first time you will be invited to respond online — even on your mobile device. You can respond by phone or mail — they’re secure, too — but going online is a great option, because it is:

  • Convenient: You can respond from anywhere, at any time, using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. You just need to be connected to the Internet.
  • Easy: When you respond online, the website will guide you through each question on the 2020 Census and provide more information if you need it.
  • Secure: All responses submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy. Once responses are received, they are no longer online.

How to respond online is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. In March 2020, your household will receive an invitation in the mail to respond online.
  2. Visit 2020census.gov to access and complete the census questionnaire.
  3. You’re done!

Census takers will visit homes in April to conduct quality check interviews and to help collect responses. In May, they will follow up in person with homes that have not responded to the census.

All responses are confidential and protected by law. Your personal information can never be shared with law enforcement agencies or property managers, and it cannot be used against you in any way. If you have any questions, contact the Atlanta Regional Census Center at 470-889-6800.

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