In recent weeks, you can hardly go anywhere without seeing messages about the 2020 Census and the importance of everyone completing a questionnaire. Clever, impactful and poignant messages can be seen on social media, on the screens at the gas station pumps, grocery stores, at meetings and through advertising of all types – practically everywhere; and it’s necessary.
So, I know there’s a high probability that you have been exposed to the census calls to action but, I’m asking you to give me a few minutes on the subject as well.
Securing a complete count of all Flint and Genesee County residents is vitally important to ensure that our region receives its share of the federal dollars to provide services such as health care, K-12 education, housing, infrastructure, public works and many other programs.
Also, did you know that for every person not counted in the census, our county misses out on $1,800, and since the census only occurs every 10 years, that number increases considerably to $18,000 per person.
We, as business leaders, have an opportunity and a responsibility to convey the importance of census participation. So, I am asking all employers to arm yourself with information about the census if you haven’t done so already. Talk with your employees about the personal and business benefits.
As an example, businesses benefit from census data including demographic information about their customers, the workforce and the economic landscape. Census data is also used to inform decisions such as where to invest and build facilities, hiring strategies, as well as business expansion and closures. Census data is also used to distribute grants for economic development, create projections of growth and provide valuation information on customer bases, which can further inform business strategies such as pricing and locations.
The bottom line is we want everyone to know that the more people counted means more funding and power for our residents at home here in Genesee County and in Washington, D.C. In fact, census data determines how many seats Michigan will have in the House of Representatives. Michigan lost a seat in 2010 and we’re in danger of losing another in this census. We can’t let this happen.
The Chamber is deeply committed to helping our region secure a complete count. To support your census communication needs, you can visit the 2020 Census web page at flintandgenesee.org/2020-census/. You will find a multitude of materials, messaging and relevant links including one to the official questionnaire. In addition, if you are looking for a speaker on the topic, we can work with you on securing one. Just let us know.
Lastly, beginning in mid-March households will receive a notice in the mail to complete the 2020 Census. In May, the U.S. Census will begin following up in person with households that haven’t responded to the census.
Let’s work together to help shape the future of our region!