As we prepare for census day on April 1st, it is important to know, how do we count ourselves? The goal is that everyone gets counted once and in the right place, so let's learn how to make that happen!
Mid-march is when census materials will begin being distributed to households by mail. April 1st is when all households will receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 census. This is when you will be able to respond by mail if this is the best method for you.
You will also have the option of calling a toll-free number to complete the survey when it becomes available. There are also many different ways to contact the US Census Bureau by phone if you have any questions. There are also many language options if you are a non-english speaker.
Something new for the 2020 census is the option to respond online. The online portal to complete the survey will be up on the 2020 census website on March 12th. You will be able to respond this way on your computer or any mobile device that has internet access.
Lastly, if you do not answer using any of these methods you will be able to answer the survey in-person with a census taker. As the deadline to have everyone counted properly approaches, their efforts to make sure everyone is counted properly will continue and they will begin visiting households to make sure they collect all responses.
It is very important that we show pride in our Pullman community and work to count ourselves once and in the right place. Let's shape our future, starting with knowing how to complete the census!
The census is what designates funding for more than 100 federal programs, and Kimberly Mowbray, local mother and educator, is focused on how the census will impact her family and her local community.
“If we’re not reporting ourselves accurately, we’re probably not getting as much help or funds that we could be using,” she said.
Kimberly Mowbray is a Washington State University alumni and current health and wellness teacher at Kamiak Elementary School. Mowbray has lived in Pullman since 2014, and has two twin boys, Jackson and Thaddeus, with her partner Terry Turner and his daughter, Samantha Turner.
Public education is a major aspect of Mowbray’s life, she said, and since the census directly impacts funding for school districts, it’s even more important that she makes sure her family counts.
“Our community has supported us [the school district] a lot, but it’s always nice to know that we have an opportunity to strengthen our programs,” she said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, statistics from the census are used to determine federal funding for special education, Head Start, after school programs, classroom technology, meal assistance and maternal child health programs.
Mowbray is also a full-time working mother of three in a blended family, and an increase in community activities, after-school programs and child care would help her, as well as many other families in Pullman, she said.
“The cost of daycare for one is insane, and having two makes it even more difficult,” she said.
Improvements to after-school programs not only impact her family, but the students she teaches, and having more childcare options for the community would greatly enhance the importance of the census, she said.
Mom’s say #CougsCount for the community, and it’s on Pullman to make sure we shape our future with the census. Click here to learn more about how you can shape the future of your family.
In order to get an in-depth look at how the census impacts small businesses, we sought out the opinions of two small business owners in Pullman.
Laura-Rose Gage has her own business called the Blue Circle Apothecary. She has been working with Sam’s Apothecary, and Nest Birth and Wellness.
Laura-Rose said she has been working her own business for the last four years.
“It’s one of the few ways to have our voices to be heard,” she said.
Laura-Rose is a self-proclaimed political junkie and understands that the census is constitutionally mandated.
“It’s very, very important to fill it out since it distributes federal funding,” she said.
The census is very important to Laura-Rose's business because it impacts how much funding goes back to wellness programs.
Tyson Feasel, the owner of Café Moro also agrees that his business will be impacted by the 2020 census.
Tyson understands that federal funding impacts public services that help his business.
“It made the sidewalks downtown easier to walk on,” he said, “which increases foot traffic and allows more business.”
Tyson has worked at Café Moro since 2002! He became the owner of the small coffee shop by 2011. He understands just how important census data is to small businesses.
By engaging with the community and the census, small business owners are shaping their futures.
The Cougs for Census team held two successful events regarding how to work for the census. If you were unable to attend either of these dates it is still possible to learn how to earn with the 2020 census!
Students who attended our events were able to meet representatives from the US Census Bureau and learn more about the purpose of the census. Almost all of the students who attended signed up to receive more information about becoming an enumerator.
The census provides many job opportunities to students that offer flexible hours and wages. Becoming an enumerator for the census is a great way to contribute to the community and get part-time work experience. Those who have been enumerators in the past say that the experience was unique and worth their time.
Be sure to come to Census 101 next Tuesday!
As someone who worked for the 2010 census, Judy Templeton shares why census data is important to our community.
"It gives the government the data needed to make sure there is proper representation in Congress," she said.
Judy shared that the last time we took the census, in 2010, it was very controversial. Many people were not happy that the government was collecting their personal data and updating addresses. Today, many people still have the fear that their personal data will not be kept secure.
The data collected from the census provides context for the government to create long term plans for our country based on demographic information.
"I'm a real data-driven person," Judy said, "and it gives the government a lot of data to know how to help people."
Like Judy, you can work for the census and help collect important data. Regardless of whether or not you work as an enumerator, each member of our community has the opportunity to make their voice count. Start by completing the 2020 Census, and do your part to make sure that everyone is counted once and only once, and in the right place.
In order to prepare for census day, this blog post is dedicated to informing our community about common misconceptions many people have about the census.
The census takes place every year
Many people do not know off the top of their heads when the census takes place. This may be because the census occurs once every ten years. Unlike tax season, or election time, we don't think of the census as having a designated spot on our calendars. This means that the census can easily be forgotten. Every ten years on April 1, the census will take place. Don’t let the date fool you and fill out the census.
Citizenship information is reported
Unlike your typical taxes, the census doesn’t record any private and confidential information. The census just wants to keep track of where you live in order to allocate federal opportunities.
The census wants to know how many residents are from the state. Regardless of immigration status, the census keeps track of if you were born out of the nation, out of the state, or in the state.
Your data isn't secure
According to an act that was created by the government for the census, all of your data is secure and won't be given out to anyone. The census also doesn’t ask questions in the same way other government forms ask. It asks for demographic information, not for your citizenship status or social security.
The government can’t be trusted
You can put your mind at ease if you believe the government will track your information or report you. The census records the data it does to learn more about the demographics of your area. There are laws in place that ensure that anyone who breaks this confidentiality goes to prison.
Parents count you
Although you may be dependent through taxes, you actually count yourself in the census. If you are over the age of 18, you count yourself in the 2020 census. Make sure to count yourself where you spend most nights at, not where your parents live.
Money goes back to the government
Money may go back to companies and some government expenses. However, most of the $675 billion goes back to the public. Funding goes back to roads, emergency services and public schooling.
Voice isn’t heard
Your voice is heard! The census uses your insight to give money back to your area. The counseling services you use, the music program at your high school, all of that is paid through the census. Shape your future, start here!
In the midst of President’s Day, many Americans may reflect upon the country’s leadership. The results of the 2016 election brought about much speculation on the credibility of the press, the impact of social media, and most importantly, the effectiveness of the electoral college.
The US Census occurs every ten years and counts the population of each state, county, and city, in addition to its demographics and living situations. The statistics gathered by the census are then used to determine government funding allocations and the redrawing of congressional boundaries.
Congressional boundaries are the 435 areas from which members are elected to the US House of Representatives. The size and scope of each congressional boundary is dependent upon the number of people that live in a given area. Essentially, the amount of representatives that a state holds is dependent upon the state’s population level; a statistic collected by the census.
The United States Congress is a legislative powerhouse for the country, as they create and pass national laws. Congress additionally holds equal power to the executive branch, led by the President, as well as the judicial branch, led by the United States Supreme Court.
The United States’ general election, which occurs every four years, collects results for a popular vote and an electoral college vote. The popular vote is the sum of each individual voter who selects a president and vice president. Each vote is then used to build a group of electors, which thus creates the electoral college.
In the electoral college system, each state has a specified number of electors based on its representation in Congress. As explained above, Congress is built dependent upon each state’s population.
The census develops statistics that are used to draw congressional boundaries, dictate the number of representatives for each area, and essentially dictates the number of electoral college voters for the general election. The impact of the Census is increasingly significant, and in the midst of a polarized political climate, ensuring that each person counts within a boundary ensures that their beliefs, their values, and their opinions count as well.
The United States is a democracy, and the Census is a major aspect of ensuring that our democracy is representative of the people within it. Even though the popular vote doesn’t determine our President, it is a representation of this country’s beliefs. This upcoming Census will redraw those boundaries, recount the electors, and has the potential to change this country’s future.
This 2020, make sure that your voice counts, and that all #CougsCount.
Since the census began, the questions that the survey asks have evolved to match the needs of our nation. That being said, many of us are probably wondering what types of questions are on the census, and why are they being asked?
We know that the census brings our communities many benefits based on the data it collects. It asks questions about who we are and where we live.
The census asks that we fill out basic information such as name and phone number. These questions help to make sure that everyone is counted once and in the right place. Phone numbers are used to be sure that if the census needs to get in contact with you that they can. It is important to remember that all data shared with the Census Bureau is kept private and will only be used for official business related to the census.
Other questions about sex, race and age are used to gather useful demographics about the communities we live in. The data gathered from these questions is used to make sure that government policies and programs serve the population in a fair way. This data is also used to monitor anti-discrimination provisions and enforce laws preventing discrimination.
The census also asks about whether or not you are a renter or homeowner, the relationships of those in each household, and whether or not most nights are spent at each household. These questions are to ensure that everyone is counted once and only once in the right place. All these questions help provide the government with an accurate idea of what our population looks like.
Each question asked by the census has a specific purpose and plays its own part in how our communities future is shaped.
While a ten minute survey might not seem significant, the data collected from the 2020 Census will impact funding for our community over the next 10 years. To break it down further, we came up with three ways the census benefits communities.
The census provides funding for local emergency services. This includes funding and resources for appropriate evacuation planning, relocation during disasters, fire stations and ambulance services. It is crucial that Pullman gets an accurate population count in order to ensure Pullman is prepared in case of an emergency
The census helps fund public education, childcare services and higher education. Funding for lunch and music programs is allocated by the number of children in the area. More funding will be given to communities with a higher population of young children. Remember to count yourselves and all of your dependents.
At the college level, our census responses determine the amount of funding WSU receives for financial aid, grants and other student programs.
Mental Health Services
Mental health is very important to the WSU community. We champion and fight for services that support, encourage and educate the community about mental illness. The census provides funding for counseling services, mental health and wellness programs.
It is time for Pullman residents to shape their future with the 2020 Census. We need to encourage our friends, neighbors and fellow students to count themselves correctly, so we can change our community for the better.
Just like many other students on our campus, Youssef didn't know or think much about the census before talking to our team.
Youssef Tantawy, an animal science major at WSU, had no interest in the census before learning about the Cougs for Census team.
"Honestly before learning about all of this I wouldn't even bother to know about the census, whereas now that I know what it does I am more interested in finding out how to complete it," he said.
Last August, Youssef and his family members became US Citizens. Before our team informed him of how the census works, Youssef was under the impression that you needed to be a US citizen in order to complete it. While this is a common misconception, there is no requirement to be a citizen to take the census.
CYoussef is also a renter in Pullman, meaning he fits into one of the harder to reach groups for our population.
"Because we're in such a small college town and different people are moving in and out of places and transferring leases, it probably gets hard to count everyone," he said.
Overall, learning about the census encouraged Youssef to be a more engaged member of the Pullman community, and now he's ready for Census Day on April 1, 2020!
Ever wanted to find a way to become more involved in our community? How about finding a job that fits perfectly with your schedule? What if I were to tell you this is exactly what a census enumerator does.
Census enumerators, or census takers work to interview community residents and ensure that address lists are updated. After census day, the census takers visit community members who haven't responded to the survey yet and prompt them to respond using iPads.
Not only do census takers play an important role in recording history, they have flexible hours and competitive wages. Census takers in Whitman County can earn $16 an hour as well as receive reimbursement for travel and other costs if applicable.
Census takers also have flexible schedules and hours. Many are asked to be free during the evenings and on weekends, although this depends on the area they are hired.
Census taker training occurs from March until May so that census takers are prepared for census day on April first. They also get paid to go through the training required for the position.
To learn more about becoming a census taker, come to our first Learn How to Earn session today at 6 p.m. in Todd 302, or visit the 2020 Census website.
You asked, we answered. On February 10, the Cougs for Census team published a blog article about Pullman’s low response rate of participation in the United States Census.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Response Outreach Area Mapper, 35.2% of Pullman residents do not participate in the U.S. Census. A normal low response score is 20%, and a low response rate of 30% or more is considered critically low.
The primary reason for the low response rate is because Pullman is home to many hard-to-reach audiences that were indicated by the Census Bureau. These audiences include college students, renters and female heads-of-households.
Let's break it down by audience:
1. College students
Washington State University currently has over 30,000 students across undergraduate and graduate programs. Students make up a large portion of residents in Pullman, and while their time in Pullman is temporary, they spend most of their year here.
According to the State of Washington’s Office of Financial Management in 2018, Whitman County had the lowest median age across the state at 24.4 years old. This is most likely due to the large proportion of students in the County. Being that most students are 18-22 years old, most current WSU students were only 8-12 years old during the last Census in 2010.
The U.S. Census has not occurred nor been mentioned in a decade, and students are having to learn about and participate in the Census for the first time this year.
With most students at WSU being from other parts of the state, country or the world, this means that most students are also renters. According to the U.S. Census Reporter, 73% of properties in Pullman are renter-occupied.
With a huge proportion of transient student renters, students are often clueless when knowing how to count themselves. Most would believe that they count under their parents as a dependent, or since they aren’t permanent residents of Pullman, they think don’t count.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The Census counts you depending on where you sleep most nights. Students just need to be educated on how to count themselves accurately.
3. female heads-of-households
According to the U.S. Census Reporter, five percent of households in Pullman have a female as the primary income provider. We conducted in-depth questionnaires in January to ask female heads-of-households in Pullman about their outlook on the Census, and not much is known among the audience.
When asked about their awareness of the Census and its impact, all respondents said that they have little to no knowledge about the Census.
While they had little knowledge about the Census, their involvement in the community is really high. Most respondents reported that they regularly participate in events at the Neill Public Library in Downtown, as well as farmer’s markets, the annual Lentil Festival, among others.
Some respondents also noted that they have children attending the Pullman School District, or they have children in daycare programs.
Funding for local community programs and education are fueled by the Census, and if female heads-of-households are getting their families to be involved in the community, they have an opportunity to represent themselves.
Now this is where we step in. Our campaign is dedicated to educating, motivating and empowering the Pullman community to participate in the Census. It’s time we change our response rate and become a community that is accurately represented!
Visit our ‘Why Census’ page to find out more on how you can count in the 2020 Census!
Each Washington State University student is affected by the census in a different way. While some benefits might resonate with some more than others, there's no question that everyone has a responsibility to play a part in the census and that it will affect each of us in the future.
Jenna Chandler, a criminal justice major from San Diego, California, feels connected to the census because of how the data that are collected impact the redrawing of political boundaries.
"The Pullman community is my second home. I am very grateful to have been able to experience a community so different from my own," she said.
Jenna considers herself to be a fairly politically active individual and wants the Pullman community to understand the importance of civic engagement. Jenna believes in the importance of being aware of what is going on in the community and the importance of being an active community member.
"I think that it is very important that the government understands the demographics of the communities they are intended to serve," Jenna said, "and that each community is represented properly."
Data collected by the census is used by the government to redraw congressional and legislative boundaries, as well as impacts the number of representatives each state is allocated.
As young college-aged students we are the next wave of people to be responsible for influencing the political process in the United States and it is important that we are engaged members of the community. Filling out the census is one more step we can take to be unified as a community and do our civic duty, Jenna said.
As members of a tight-knit community, each and every one of us is responsible for making sure our voices are heard. There is no denying that there is a special pride shared by Pullman residents. It is time for us to show our dedication to our community and empower each other to count ourselves properly in the 2020 Census.
When it comes to participating in the census, Pullman residents have a track record for not responding to the survey. The Census Bureau uses low response scores to track how accurately the population living within each census tract fills out the census. A normal low response score that might be cause for concern is 20%, and a low response score of 30% or more means that the area requires the critical attention of the Census Bureau. According to the Census Bureau's Response Outreach Area Mapper, Pullman belongs to a census tract with a low response score of 35.2%. This shows us that we are not providing the government with accurate information about our community.
The Census Bureau collects our data so that $675 billion in federal funding can be distributed to each community based on its needs. If we don't self report to the census, it causes the data collected about Pullman is inaccurate. This causes our community to potentially lose funding for programs that need it. Funds that are allocated based on census data go towards emergency services, schools, and mental health programs. Not only does data from the census impact funding, it is also used to redraw congressional boundaries and determine how many representatives each state gets when political boundaries are re-evaluated.
As much as we owe it to our community to fill out the census, it is also an important part of living in the United States. Participating in the Census is not only a way to show that we are active participants within our community, it is also a way to be involved in how our government sees our community.
As you prepare to complete the 2020 Census, keep in mind that you are not only providing the government with important information about our community, you are also showing that you are #PullmanProud.