Mar 7, 2020
By Albert Lerma
Every 10 years we take a snapshot of the country by counting every single person who lives in the United States. It’s essential to small communities that every last person is counted so that we get our fair share of federal funds.
Billions of dollars in funding go to cities and counties every year, and Census data is used to decide where all those resources go.
Everyone with a household mailing address in Sonoma County will be getting a notice in the mail March 12-19. That notice will ask everyone to go online and fill out the Census form using an invitation ID number.
This is the first time in history that everyone has been invited to go online! Those with a P.O. box will not get an invitation by mail but can still go online after March 12 or get assistance by phone to respond to the census.
Filling out the Census is required by law, and there will be three ways to respond: online, on the phone, and by filling out a paper questionnaire. The Census is hoping most complete this online – it saves the most taxpayer money and is the most efficient. If someone does not respond to the Census by May, a census taker will come to your door and personally help you fill out your form.
When you fill out your Census form you are doing a direct service to your local community. That’s because when our community gets a complete and accurate count, it also gets fully-funded for public services like schools, health clinics, Head Start, roads, Medicare, water and waste disposal systems, and libraries.
We also want to make sure California is fairly represented in Congress, and Census data is used to reapportion House of Representatives seats to all 50 states. Cities and counties will use the data to redraw lines of their electoral districts, so the accuracy of the count has far-reaching consequences for the next decade.
Definitely! Being a census taker – the person who helps those in the community fill out their forms at the door – is a great service to your own community and the country. You will make $25 an hour in Sonoma County. The hours are evenings and weekends and flexible, so it’s perfect for students or someone who already has a job but needs some extra cash.
Yes! Your personal information is confidential and protected by law, so it is going NOWHERE once the Census collects it. Title 13, the law that protects you, dictates that anyone violating this is subject to a $250,000 fine and up to five years in jail. The Census only reports data for statistical purposes, and personal information remains confidential for 72 years.
The Census form online will be translated into 12 other languages: Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Japanese.
There are printed and video language guides available in 59 languages that give step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the Census.
Spread the word to all friends and family, wherever you go. Everyone should know that filling out the Census is safe, easy and important to getting benefits down the road.
And if you know someone who needs a job, spread the word on that, too. $25 an hour is a pretty good wage even for the Bay Area.
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