The 2020 Census is now open for reporting! Unfortunately, this once-a-decade count has gotten overshadowed by headlines about the spread of the COVID19 virus.
But the coronavirus crisis shows why census reporting is more important than ever. The government uses census data to fund hospitals, health clinics, and other public health initiatives and facilities. When vulnerable people are under-counted, we risk not having all the resources we need to keep them healthy and thriving in ordinary times.
To be clear, these are extraordinary times. And during extraordinary times, government funding allocated to fight disasters like the coronavirus pandemic does not rely on census data. We trust our national, state, and community leaders to act quickly to contain this crisis and prevent needless deaths. Indeed, Gov. Phil Murphy already has declared a state of emergency, and that should ease access to all necessary government resources and facilitate better coordination between the many individuals and agencies working to curtail this contagion.
While there is much we still do not know about the coronavirus, we do know that people in good health have less to fear than those who get infected when they’re already in poor health.
Census reporting is easy, safe, and important!
That brings us back to the 2020 Census. The public’s full participation in the census will help ensure our communities’ healthcare and social service programs and facilities receive adequate funding for the next 10 years, so that everyone gets the care they need when they need it.
Participating in the census is easy – you can do it without even leaving your home or interacting face-to-face with census enumerators. That’s because the census is online for the first time ever. (Respond now by clicking here.) If you don’t have a computer or Internet access, that’s not a problem. You can also respond now by phone at 1-844-809-7715, option 1, or by mail. Mailers will be sent between March 12-20. (And if you don’t get a mailer or misplace it, you can still respond by address. The Census Bureau also will send multiple reminders to participate in the census.)
The coronavirus makes timely census participation smart for another reason: In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will dispatch staff to knock on the doors of non-responders. In the 2010 Census, 24 percent of households failed to respond to the census. Don’t want someone coming to your door, as you minimize your public interactions during this health crisis? Then fill out your census forms online, by phone, or by mail as soon as you can.
Everyone must get counted to ensure adequate funding for all our community’s healthcare needs. In a time of crisis, it’s critical that we all do our part to protect our future. Don’t let anxiety-inducing headlines discourage you from being counted!
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For more information, contact Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153.
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