The Census Is Important For Future Funding And More

“The census affects many aspects of funding, legislative apportionment, and our official population count for the next 10 years ~ it’s important to get as many people to respond as possible,” Lindsay Madison, Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said.   “Your help is appreciated!”
Lindsay Madison is the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

Why participate in completing the census?

According to the census website:

Here are the reasons:

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of the more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.

A post from the Kansas Dept. of Commerce explains some more detail of why it is important for rural areas to send back the census forms:

Taken from the Kansas Dept. of Commerce Facebook page.

The current census response rates compared to the state and national average and Bourbon County were pulled together by  Madison.

The response rates:

National- 48.6%
State- 53.3%
Bourbon County- 45%
City of Fort Scott- 46.8%

“Becki Roberts is our local ‘on the ground’ contact for the census leading the local census takers, etc.,” Madison said.

Online, phone and mailed self-responses will continue throughout the data collection process, according to information provided by Madison.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
  • Implement the guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities regarding COVID-19.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

Under the adjusted 2020 Census operational plan, field activities would resume after June 1, 2020, as Area Census Offices begin returning to full staff capacity.

Extended Time To Collect Data

Due to health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, this will be the first-ever decennial census that has been delayed, according to  Steve Hale, Sr. Partnership Specialist (Kansas) with the U.S. Census Bureau / 2020 Census, in the information provided by Madison.


For more info:

 The U.S. Commerce Department officially is seeking statutory relief from Congress for 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts, according to the info provided by Madison.
Under this plan, which must receive congressional approval, field data collection and self-response will be extended from the original July 31 date until October 31, 2020. Apportionment counts would then be delivered to the President on April 30, 2021, and the redistricting data to be delivered to the states by July 31, 2021.
Here’s a quick link to those Operational changes:
Delivery of 2020 Census Paper Questionnaires
Also of note is those households that have not yet responded online or by phone to the initial 2020 Census mailings are now receiving a paper questionnaire.
While more than half of Kansas households have already responded online, some may prefer the paper-and-mail option.
Phone Response Wait Times
Persons using the phone to respond to the Census are experiencing increased call wait times. This is primarily due to social distancing measures. There’s a link in the Infogram
explaining a call-back option and the Census Bureau making more employees available to respond to requests.
Response Map
The public is encouraged to go to the 2020 Census response rate map to see how its community is responding by county or city or census tract. The map is updated daily.

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