A once in a decade opportunity is coming to ABAC. The census is something that happens every ten years, and as college students, we have our first opportunity to participate in 2020. The census is a complete count of the state’s population, along with their demographics. But what is the importance of the census to us?
One importance is money. The census impacts over 316 federal funding programs, and the data used to determine the amount of funding come from census data. Federally funded programs are important to students in many ways. The free or reduced lunch programs, pell grants and student loans all depend on census data for determining a maximum amount of money that can be disbursed.
The second major importance is political power. Many of Georgia’s governmental practices rely on census data. The number of members we have in congress, state house of representatives, state senate and other forms of representation all rely on our state’s population which is recorded through the census.
In the last three censuses, Georgia has gained four congressional seats, giving us more seats in Washington. In terms of money, $40 billion came back to Georgia in 2016 through federal programs, based on the census data. This is a good indicator that our population is increasing; however, sections of Georgia are falling behind in numbers. South Georgia’s population is declining, which is another reason we need to participate.
In terms of participation, there are three key things to remember: 1) If you live at home while going to college, your parents should count you as part of the household; 2) If you live on campus, your university should count you; 3) If you are living in an apartment/house off-campus, you have an obligation to fill out your own census information. There are three ways of completing the census. First, the Census Bureau can send paper copies to each known address within the state.
Lastly, 2020 is the first year that an online option will be offered. Each option will give the same list of nine questions. This list will not vary and will only need to be completed once.
IMPORTANT: THE CENSUS BUREAU IS ONLY MAILING TO PEOPLE, NOT BY TEXT NOR EMAIL. IF YOU RECEIVE ONE OF THESE, IT IS A SCAM.