Part of every American's civic duty is participating in the nation's census. The U.S. Constitution requires that each decade we take a count or a census of America’s population. The 2020 Census will count every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.
The Graham Center is joining with Alachua County, the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida to increase awareness of the importance of the Census, and to improve the accuracy of the numbers of students that should be counted as living in Alachua County. UF students fall within what area officials consider 'hard-to-count' populations. In the 2010 Census, Alachua County estimates that the populations of UF and Santa Fe students was undercounted by more than 23,000 individuals. The lack of participation led to an estimated loss of $390,000,000 in federal and state funding over the last decade.
Why the Census Matters
The Census determines how many representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to redraw boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts. Redistricting counts are sent to the states by March 31, 2021.
The Census also provides critical data that communities rely on to plan for a variety of resident needs including new roads, schools, hospitals, libraries, and emergency services. Census statistics determine funding for higher education, Pell grants, and infrastructure. Census statistics also help Florida communities respond to natural disasters like hurricanes. Knowing who lives where is key to recovery.
Why the Census Matters for UF
An accurate census count will help improve the student experience at UF.
It will help UF on its quest to Top 5 status.
Students who get counted here will leave a legacy positively impacting UF’s future/status/future students.
Improved student counts will make UF (and Gainesville/Alachua) a better place to study/work/live/raise a family/run a business/vacation/return for tailgating.
The bottom line is that the Census improves the quality of life around the University community.
Important Dates and What's New This Year
April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide and will be celebrated with special events across the country. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Postcards will be sent to residences in late March informing people how they can be counted. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1.
April 2020: Census takers called "enumerators" will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
May 2020: The Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.
December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
March 31, 2021: The Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
Participation will be quick and easy. For the first time, people will be able to fill out census information on the phone or on a laptop over the Internet. Of course they can also fill in the printed mail forms and drop them in the mail. Return postage is pre-paid.
How University Students Can Get Involved
- TAKE the Census. Fill out the Census with your “usual residence” or the place where you live or sleep most of the time. Students are often surprised to learn that they are not counted in their parent's census count. Unless they are living with their parents on April 1, students should complete the census and claim Gainesville as their residence April 1, provided they live in Gainesville more than six months of the year. Attending UF during the fall and spring semesters menas they live in Gainesville and should get counted in Alachua County.
- Apply online for a job with the Census. The U.S. Census Bureau is ramping up its national recruiting efforts to hire up to 500,000 temporary, part-time census takers for the 2020 Census in communities across the country to reach its goal of more than 2 million applicants. The positions offer competitive pay, flexible hours, paid training, and weekly paychecks. Visit this link.
- Join with campus groups
- Spread the word!
You can find complete details and sign up for updates at www.CountingOnYou.US.