(KSLA) - While many people are at home as the coronavirus pandemic continues on — the Census Bureau is still working.
“If you have not done anything then we’re going to send you a paper questionnaire,” said Marilyn Stephens.
Stephens is an Assistant Regional Census Manager and says programs like Medicaid, foster care, free and reduced lunch programs, pell grants, and even senior and veteran services receive their funding based on census information.
“More than $675 billion annually is allocated based on this population statistics,” she said.
Stephens says it takes 13 years to plan for a census because it’s a population and housing census and says they take it by using people’s addresses.
“People don’t realize when they get their invitation letter in the mail some people send theirs back because it didn’t have their name on it,” she said. “It says household on it because we are pinpointing you at an address not as individuals.”
She says many families also forget to include their children when they fill out their census information which is needed.
The census also greatly impacts rural communities and the resources they are able to get.
"Those numbers will speak to the need for more hospitals in rural areas, said Stephens.
A big thing Stephens stresses is that you won’t be sharing personal information like your social security number or bank statements, and the information you provide with the census won’t be shared.
“Census data is protected by law," she said. "It’s confidential by law, not by policy or procedure but by law. Title 13 of the United States Code states that we can not release anything that will identify an individual or a household with their responses to us.”
If you still haven’t filled out the census by mid-may then your address will be pulled and field crews will soon come to your home to encourage you to fill it out.
State totals are all due by December 31, 2020.
State senate leaders will soon get that information by March 2021 and then the Census Bureau will begin releasing more information out in the fall of that year.