Communities involved in Census effortsApril 23, 2019
By CANDY NEAL
Census representatives are starting to reach out to local communities to get their help to encourage the public to complete the 2020 Census.
The Census is done every 10 years as the United States’ official population count.
Both Jasper and Huntingburg each are forming what the Census calls a Complete County Committee. The committee will be comprised of local individuals representing different tasks and segments of the community.
“The group will be a marketing group to promote the Census,” said Jasper Mayoral Assistant Lisa Bower, the city’s liaison for the Census, “getting people to understand that they need to take it and that it is safe to take.”
She met with a Census representative about two months to get information about forming the committee and to learn about other activities that will be done in the community, including some training sessions for Census workers that will be held in July. Bower and a Census jobs recruiter will have a booth set up at the June 8 Family Festival to recruit people to help with local Census work.
Bower said the Census is important to Jasper because it can affect future government funding the city receives.
“It’s $1,400 per person that we can ultimately get in grant money,” she said. “It’s like voting, where every vote counts. Every submission counts.”
Huntingburg is also working on a committee, Mayor Denny Spinner said. Gina Flick will run the committee and be the city’s Census liaison.
In addition, a Census representative will attend the May 30 Latino Collaboration Table to share information.
“A complete Census count is very important. And I know there are concerns among the Latino community about participating in the Census,” Spinner said. “We want to be able to share as much information with the leaders in our Latino community about that, and to make sure they are getting all the information they can.”
The Latino population is an important and substantial part of the community, and Spinner plans to encourage them to be a part of the city’s Census efforts.
“It’s important for our community, with our Hispanic population, to get as accurate a count as possible because funding for programs that could benefit our community are based on our Census numbers,” he said. “I understand the concerns the Latino community has about sharing this information. We’re trying to assure them that this information is confidential.”
Chris James, Ferdinand’s town manager, talked to a Census representative in March about the impact of the Census count and its importance, he said. Since James was not working for the town when the 2010 Census was done, the representative is collecting information about activities done at that time, “not necessarily to duplicate that, but to give me guidance,” he said.
A representative will also meet with county officials this week to discuss ideas for engaging the community.
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