GOTNV Update: Count Yourself In!
Every 10 years, the federal government is required by the U.S. Constitution to conduct a population and housing survey in the United States. The data collected from each person in the U.S. helps determine how the more than $675 billion in annual federal funds are spent across the country.
Participating in the 2020 Census and responding to the survey determines the amount of funding specific communities will receive, which can have incredible impacts on a community’s future. For example, the data from the 2020 Census can help:
- Ensure public services and funding for schools, hospitals and fire departments
- Plan new homes and businesses and improve neighborhoods
- Determine how many seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives
Do the right thing for your community
The census occurs every 10 years and includes only 10 questions, but those 10 questions have an enormous impact.
Accurate census data can lead to appropriate allocations of funds needed to support tribal programs in meeting community member needs. It can also help tribal leaders understand their community needs and plan for future growth. By providing accurate household information, respondents can make a difference in the future of their community. Counting all the children who live and sleep in the home is especially important for gaining funds for future schools and programs.
Historically, Alaska Natives and American Indians have been undercounted due to language barriers, resistance to federal government intrusion, high mobility rates (moving often), and lack of culturally competent interviewers. A population undercount can drastically affect the amount of government support a community receives.
It’s important to be aware of how Alaska Natives and American Indians will be tracked in census material and why it’s important to take part in the census. Download the “Tribal Consultation Handbook: Background Materials for Tribal Consultations on the 2020 Census” at Census.gov to learn more about tribal consultation.
When is the next census?
The census occurs every 10 years. The last census occurred in 2010 and the next one begins in mid-March 2020.
Because of past issues with the accuracy of the census, many governments and organizations have established tribal liaison positions to act as representatives for gathering census data.
How to participate
Selected addresses will be sent a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau and, depending on the survey, there are four options for responding: online, mail, in person and telephone. Participation in the census is required, by law, for all people living in the United States. For those who do not respond, the Census Bureau will follow up in person to collect information.
There are also opportunities to participate by applying for positions that the 2020 Census has to offer; visit 2020census.gov/jobs.