The 2020 U.S. Census begins on April 1, 2020 and preparations are already underway - even at the local levels. Local recruiting assistant Andy Fazzini is traveling around the region seeking people willing to work as enumerators. He stopped by WKMS to speak about the position, why it's important for people to fill out the Census, the controversial citizenship question and what to expect when the nationwide count gets underway.
Fazzini said he’s recruiting more than 1,000 people in his five county region to work for the Census that begins next spring. Fazzini’s region is Calloway, Marshall and Trigg Counties in Kentucky and Henry and Stewart in Tennessee.
As for what one would be doing as an enumerator, Fazzini says the days of ‘old-fashioned door-to-door census taker’ may be a thing of the past. This time around, the Census Bureau intends to allow people to do the Census online, over the phone or mailing-in. It may take four or five reminders before someone comes to the door.
Workers may generally be conducting follow-up phone calls. The first operation is address canvassing, where Census workers will drive around, logging addresses and then compare it to 2010 data.
Why Is The Census Important?
The Census, Fazzini said, aims to find out how many people are in the country and how congressional districts are drawn up and how much federal funding comes into a local community. The Census is looking for a snapshot of a community - the ages of people, median income, etc.
He explained, “If this doesn’t make you proud to be an American, I don’t know what else would: The United States is the first nation in all of recorded history that said ‘we are going to conduct the census not as a way to tax the populace, but to equitably distribute political power to the people.” That’s the first function of the Census, he said, the second function is that federal dollars get funneled into communities and the amount they receive is based on the population.
“One of the things that is most important to me as someone who is recruiting for the Census Bureau is we want to get enough people to do the job and we want the job to be done accurately because we want to make sure that every person in this community gets counted,” he said.
Fazzini went on to explain that it’s important for everyone to be counted. He said, as an example, “each individual to a county may be worth a thousand dollars in federal funding. If you come 1,000 people short in a count, that’s a million dollars. Times that by ten years because that’s the chance you’re going to get to readjust it, you’re talking about ten million dollars a county could lose in federal funding simply because we didn’t do it accurately, we didn't count everybody.”
Fazzini says the controversial citizenship question is a “political football” and stressed that the bureau is nonpartisan. He said the question has been asked before, but noted the bureau can’t release personal information for 70 years.
He said local Complete Count Committees are working to make sure people aren’t dissuaded from taking the Census as well as understand the importance of the Census and the safety of the information.
How Military And Others Are Counted
Fort Campbell in the region has many soldiers and their families living on the base or in the surrounding communities, perhaps not year-round. Fazzini said the Census Bureau has a way of counting the military, university students, homeless people and frequent travelers - they usually get counted first. He said where they get counted (as in which community) generally comes down to where people are living on April 1, 2020.
How To Assist
Fazzini is looking for local people to conduct field work. They must be a U.S. Citizen, over 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number and a valid email address. Males born after December 31, 1959 have to show proof they were registered with Selective Service. Also, the bureau has a military preference.
For more information, one can call 1-855-JOB-2020.