CULTON: Don’t forget to complete your census

Time is winding down to complete your 2020 census.

At the end of this month, time will run out for area residents to fill out their census forms, a once-a-decade count of those living in the U.S.

Currently, the state of Michigan has matched its 2010 response rate, but has not reached a full count of its residents. The consequences of an undercount are serious. The data collected by the census, which is kept confidential, is used to determine the number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and also to distribute federal funds to local communities. Statewide, Michigan relies on federal funding to make up 41 percent of its budget, according to a State Budget Office executive budget recommendation. That equals out to roughly $1,800 per Michigan resident per year. If a person goes uncounted, that funding is lost.

According to analysis of 2010 census data, both Berrien and Cass counties are at risk of an undercount, putting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds at risk. Those federal dollars are used to fund roads, school lunches, medical clinics and more.

Luckily, there is something we can all do to stop those funds from leaving our communities: fill out a short, nine-question survey. This can be completed online at my2020census.gov, by phone or in person when a census taker shows up at your door.

As stated before, the questionnaire is entirely confidential and your answers cannot be shared with anyone by penalty of law.

Aside from taking a few minutes of your time, there are no downsides to completing the census. However, the upsides and funding resulting from your response will benefit your community for the next decade.

So, hop on your computer and fill out your census before time runs out. Make sure you are counted in time to make it count.

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