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Going Public: Invitation to Participate In The 2020 U. S. Census Coming Mar. 12

U.S. Census Bureau

It's time to be counted. Beginning around March 12, residents will receive information about how they can complete the 2020 US Census. The census provides an official count of the United States' population and information about important demographic changes over a decade.

Melissa Stickel is the Executive Director of Community Partnership of Southeast Missouri and is also the Chairperson of the Mayor's Complete Count Committee for Cape Girardeau County. She told us that the census is important because data collected impacts how federal funding is distributed to states and then local municipalities and those are all done by a formula based on population size. That impacts infrastructure projects which includes funding for roads and highways, hospitals and agencies that are doing their work in communities.

The other notable reason the census is important is because of political representation and how congressional districts are drawn, which is based on population. Stickel said, "In the State of Missouri in 2010, we lost a seat in the Congress because of our census population going down."

Stickel told us there are concerns for rural participation in the census because the primary method of capturing data will be through the internet. However, in some rural areas, internet access is limited or non-existant. Paper versions of the census will be mailed to homes that are shown not to have internet access. She said that individuals could likely take the census at their local public library. In Cape Girardeau County, questionnaire assistance centers will be available at the Cape Girardeau County Health Department and the other is at the offices of Community Partnership of Southeast Missouri.

For those who haven't responded to the census by the beginning of May, they will likely have a census worker knocking on their door. But people can take the census up until mid-June. After that point, the census will close and if you weren't counted by that point, you won't be counted, she said.

Once all the data is collected, it will be submitted to the president in December 2020. It won't be released to the public until mid-2021.


Dan is a 1994 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. He majored in radio and minored in political science. He spent three of his four years at Southeast working as a student announcer at KRCU – the beginning of his radio career.