CHARLOTTE, NC, November 25, 2019 – Hidden in all the hoopla surrounding the impeachment of Donald Trump is an important story that will affect every American in 2020 and well into the future. It is known as the decennial census, or more simply, the census.
Historically, the first English census was completed in the latter part of the 11th century when King William the Conqueror took more than a year to gather information in two large volumes about the 13,418 English settlements south of the Scottish border. It was known as the Domesday Book (pronounced “doomsday”).
As one writer described the “great survey”, it was called the Domesday Book because:
“‘there was no single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was left out.‘ The grand and comprehensive scale on which the Domesday survey took place, and the irreversible nature of the information collected led people to compare it to the Last Judgement, or ‘Doomsday’, described in the Bible, when the deeds of Christians written in the Book of Life were to be placed before God for judgment. This name was not adopted until the late 12th Century.”
William died in 1087, the year after the first draft of his elaborate survey was submitted, so the Domesday Book was never completed, despite its magnitude.
Still, much of the apprehension of King William’s initial effort continues to carry over into our modern-day census.
So what exactly is the census in its contemporary incarnation, and why is it important?
The 2020 Census website describes it this way:
“The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.”
The objective is to obtain the participation of as many people as possible in order to gather the most accurate information for dispersing government funds. In other words, to get as close as possible to establish a “con-census.”
Unfortunately, one size does not fit all, and in today’s ultra-cynical society there are numerous reasons why people don’t participate saying “I don’t:
“Have time to fill out the census”,
“Think the census has any impact on my life”,
“Trust the government with my information”,
“I have trouble completing the census forms”
…and any number of other ready-made excuses.
Sadly, many of the people for which an accurate census will help most are among those who are least likely to participate.
So just exactly who does the decennial Census 2020 benefit? As the website indicates, “Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. People in your community use census data in all kinds of ways, such as these:
Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices, and stores, and these create jobs.
Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals.”
Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.”
In the state of North Carolina alone, for example, an inaccurate census could miss more than 73,000 children ages 0 to 5 who stand to receive financial assistance if everyone just does their part. If not, those funds are allocated elsewhere.
How to be counted for the 2020 Census on-line
In an effort to obtain greater involvement for the upcoming census, it is now possible to go online to participate.
While the use of modern technology sounds good in theory, there will still be those who claim they don’t own a computer or lack the technical skills to answer the questions online.
Undaunted, when the time comes the Census Bureau will still mail out traditional paper census surveys to anyone who has not filled in the forms from one of the other available options. Thus there is hardly a legitimate reason not to participate.
With the sense of Big Brother being a very real aspect of modern-day life, it’s not difficult to understand an innate apprehension about doing the census.
Even so, all it takes is a little effort and some common “census” to get as accurate a measure as possible. Look at it this way, if you consider yourself “pro-census” shouldn’t you do everything possible to help Americans get a “con-census”?
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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