Time is of the Essence -- Take the 2020 Census Today

Posted on 08/14/20

It is not too late to fill out the 2020 Census but time is of the essence.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that it will end all efforts to count the nation’s residents by Sept. 30 – a month sooner than the anticipated Oct. 31 deadline.

Census worker does a home visit

“If you haven’t filled out the Census yet, please take a minute to do so as a number of really vital programs in our communities rely on data gathered from the Census to determine funding levels,” said Beth Velasquez, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director for Communications.

“New Mexico is traditionally one of the most under counted states in the country and this costs us in federal dollars. The national average is 62 percent, New Mexico is at 52.7 percent,” Velasquez said.

The Census count, among other things, helps determine federal funding for numerous programs.  New Mexico received about $7,816,466,854 in Federal funding annually using data from the 2010 Census.

These programs include medical assistance, school lunches, housing, energy assistance, road construction, business loans, Head Start, WIC, federal transit grants, and many more. It determines where to build new schools, hospitals and businesses and how many representatives each state will have in Congress.

“The free meals available to children at the local elementary school; transportation funds that are used for bus services and road repair; and business loans – these are all programs right here in New Mexico that the Census count impacts,” Velasquez said.

“We want people to know that their response matters. In most cases it only takes a few minutes, so if you haven’t done so already, please visit https://2020census.gov/ and take the Census today,” Velasquez said. 

Many people have already received a packet in the mail from the Census. You can fill it out and return it by mail or you can do so online. If you cannot find your information, you can still go to https://2020census.gov and take it there or call 1-844-330-2020.

Because of the short timeline, the Census is stepping up its data collection efforts and will be sending Census workers, practicing safe social distancing, door to door to gather data from individuals who have not yet filled out the Census. If they still can’t find someone at home, they may ask your neighbor for some of the information they might need – like how many people live at your home.

“I don’t think anyone wants their neighbor guessing about vital statistics in your home. Only you can provide an accurate picture so again, it’s better if you take the time to fill out the Census yourself, rather than relying on the kindness of strangers guessing,” Velasquez said.

The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect the privacy and confidentiality of everyone who responds to the Census. Your personal information cannot be used against you in any way. By law, your personal information cannot be shared with anyone else and it can’t be accessed by the police department, DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA.

Beware of scammers who might use the Census as a means to get your personal information.  Look for these red flags: 

  • An e-mail claiming to be from the Census Bureau – legitimate contact is almost always done by mail;
  • A person pretending to be Census worker asks for money, financial information such as a bank account or account balance, credit card information or your Social Security number; or threatens to have your arrested. A legitimate worker will not ask these kinds of questions.

If you have a concern a Census worker is not legitimate or have questions about what is being asked call the AARP Fraud Watch Network at 1-877-908-3360.

But better yet, take the Census now at https://2020census.gov and you will be counted.

This story is provided by AARP New Mexico. Visit the AARP New Mexico page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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