by Bonnie Coblentz
MSU Extension Service
The laid-back way of life in Mississippi has a downside when it leads to very low U.S. Census participation. Inaccurate population counts can cause the state to lose money, political representation, and participation in beneficial programs.
The U.S. Constitution requires a complete count of the U.S. population every 10 years. To reach this goal, census takers are being hired and trained to go door-to-door and gather in-person information on residents. Those who want to avoid this inconvenience can go online today to submit information on their household.
Door-to-door canvassing for nonrespondents begins Aug. 11.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, census data informs many federal, state, and local decisions and impacts funding for a variety of programs. These include roads, health care, medical assistance, family violence prevention, public water systems, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and children’s health insurance and welfare programs.
Mississippi currently has a 57.5% response rate to the U.S. Census. There is still time to self-report Census information for households that have not yet done so. Respond now by mailing in the paper form, calling 844-330-2020, or submitting data online at http://www.2020census.gov.
Census takers are being hired from the communities in which they will work. They will have identification showing them to be working for the 2020 Census. Their goal is to ensure a complete and accurate count that will benefit the community and state.
Census takers will follow current health and safety guidelines for the community where they work. All Mississippians are encouraged to cooperate if a census taker visits their homes.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is partnering with the 2020 Census to ensure all Mississippians are represented in the final count. Learn how to avoid scams related to the census here: https://extension.msstate.edu/blog/tips-for-protecting-yourself-census-scams.
by Bonnie Coblentz