By Jessica R. Pope
Preparing for Census 2020
“Census 2020 is going to have a huge impact on South Georgia.”
With democracy and hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, Valdosta State University is determined to do its part to encourage a successful and accurate Census 2020 across South Georgia.
“We want to provide support for all 41 counties in our service area because the census results impact every aspect of community development,” said Darrell Moore, executive director of VSU’s Center for South Georgia Regional Impact. “We realize the importance of the census to our region, especially our small, rural communities.”
The data that is collected is used to ensure public safety, plan new schools and hospitals, choose locations for businesses and industries, improve neighborhoods and build new ones, enhance quality-of-life initiatives, and more.
The data is also used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets, and it is used by states to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts.
“Census 2020 is going to have a huge impact on South Georgia,” Moore said.
The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. In fact, it is mandated by the Constitution.
Census 2020 counts every person living in the U.S. — once, only once, and in the right location. The results help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities.
“Communities benefit the most when everyone is counted,” Moore said. “According to George Washington University’s 2016 Counting for Dollars study, each person in the U.S. is worth more than $2,300 per year in federal funding. If we miss just 100 people, then that would mean a loss of more than $230,000 each year. That’s a lot of money to a small town.”
VSU's 41-county service area
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all households will receive an invitation to participate in the census by April 2020. They will then have three options to respond — online, by phone, or by mail.
Everyone who lives in the United States is required by law to participate in Census 2020.
Moore said that VSU’s Office of Communications and Marketing is developing marketing materials to help South Georgia communities spread the word about the importance of completing the census.
The Center for South Georgia Regional Impact, he said, is working to identify students from communities in VSU’s 41-county service area to assist with the census. These students will work with leadership in their hometowns and help to implement a plan to ensure everyone is counted.
“We are excited to be partnering with our South Georgia communities on Census 2020 and building those relationships,” Moore added. “This work and the data that is collected will play a critical role in helping us realize our commitment to have a positive impact on community and economic development in our region.”
“This work and the data that is collected will play a critical role in helping us realize our commitment to have a positive impact on community and economic development in our region.”