According to State Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington), 2020 Census responses are critical to future federal funding in local communities, and Hoosiers should respond now if they have not already done so.
Census Surge Week kicked off Monday to remind residents to complete their 2020 Census forms before door-to-door visits begin in some areas around the country as early as July 20. Leonard said Indiana is currently tied for 10th in the nation for response rate, with nearly two-thirds of Hoosier census forms submitted.
"During surge week, everyone should take the time, if they have not already done so, to fill out the household census form," Leonard said. "I appreciate that so many community members have already completed this task. This is such an important part of our civic duty, and the best way to ensure local programs are funded."
Leonard encourages residents to visit 2020Census.gov to fill out the census online. Hoosiers can also call 844-330-2020 or mail back the questionnaire sent to households.
Census takers will begin visiting nonresponding households in northern Indiana from Aug. 11 to Oct. 31 to ensure every resident is counted. Leonard said less than one-third of households in Northeast Indiana counties still need to respond to the 2020 Census, including Allen, Huntington and Wells counties.
Census workers will wear masks and follow local public health guidelines when they visit households. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing, and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods.
Leonard said everyone is required to fill out the census every 10 years by law, and the information is kept confidential. Personal information cannot be used against respondents by any government agency or court.
According to Leonard, billions of dollars in federal funding to support education, housing, health and public safety are on the line as this data impacts strategic planning decisions about statewide job training, locations of new businesses and public transportation projects.
Self-responses are due by Oct. 31, 2020.