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For the first time, households can respond to the 2020 Census this year either online, by phone or by mail. Courtesy of the United States Census Bureau 

Sumner County leaders are encouraging residents to complete the 2020 Census, which officials say will be used to make important decisions regarding federal funding and political representation during the next decade. 

So far, more than 30 percent of households in the county still have not responded to the questionnaire, according to data from the United States Census Bureau.

“We want to make sure that we don’t underserve the populations here,” Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt said about the importance of taking part in the nationwide population count. “We are a diverse county… and we want to make sure that all of the services that are available get used in a wise manner to serve the people here.”

Data collected during the 2020 Census will be used to make “critical decisions that affect every person and support public services” like schools, hospitals, fire departments, roads and more, according to June Iljana, media specialist for the United States Census Bureau.

“The results of this once-a-decade count are used to ensure fair political representation for each state in Congress, to inform distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding back to our communities, to help draw congressional and state legislative districts and to enable governments and businesses to plan for current and future needs in a community,” Iljana added.

More than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed back to states and communities each year based on census results. The money is used to support more than 100 programs like Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

All municipalities in Tennessee are expected to receive approximately $131 per resident in general and state street aid funds during the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year, according to initial state-shared revenue estimates from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). The money is distributed by the Tennessee Department of Revenue based on population.

All households can respond to the census either online at www.2020census.gov, by phone at 844-322-2020 or on a paper form delivered through the mail. Those that do not self-respond will be visited by a census-taker with the majority of in-person data collection scheduled to begin Aug. 11.

“The 2020 Census is very brief and easy to complete, asking just a few questions about each person living or staying in the household,” Iljana said. “It depends on the size of the household, (but) most people complete the process in five to 10 minutes.”

Since 1790, a census has been conducted every 10 years as required by the United States Constitution.

By law, any personal information collected is required to be kept strictly confidential. Responses cannot be used against an individual by any government agency or in court.

In 2010, Sumner County had 160,645 residents, according to data from the Census Bureau. The organization estimated the county’s population grew to more than 191,000 residents as of July 1, 2019. 

For more information about the 2020 Census visit www.2020census.gov.

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