Happy Census Day
As a state, we are experiencing great uncertainty with the recent COVID-19 outbreak. There is little left without impact. Like many of you, we have had to consider alternative and digital options in order to continue working to serve our students and the education community. That’s why, today, April 1 (National Census Day) is good opportunity to remind you of the completely digital or mail-in options for this year’s Census, which provides essential data on which school funding often relies.
The census is a count of all people living in the U.S. and takes place every 10 years. It is simple and confidential to complete. For the first time, you can respond online. You may have received a unique identifying number in the mail, which will allow you to fill out the online form (sent beginning in March 2020). It will ask questions about your household such as how many people reside in your home, date of birth, race, and sex. Here are some things you should know:
Your identity remains anonymous. Any personal information you provide on the census form is protected by law and cannot be shared with anyone or any other federal agency. Regardless of your immigration status, the information cannot be used against you or to invade the privacy of you or any members of your family.
The Census is important. As I mentioned before, the Census is important because it helps to decide how much federal money our schools will get over the next ten years, and how much money our state will get for our parks, neighborhood improvements, public health, transportation, and many other programs and services.
The Census is safe. All the data collected through the census is protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code. Records are confidential for 72 years by law. All U.S. Census Bureau employees swear a lifetime oath to protect respondent information. The U.S. Census will never share a respondent’s personal information with other government agencies. Data is only released in summary tables; no individual records are released. The penalty for wrongful disclosure is up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.
What do you need to do? Complete the short and easy form online. If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use one at a library or at a location in your community clearly identified Census Questionnaire Assistance Center. Your kids count, so make sure to count them when you fill out the census form in Spring 2020.
Washington State Board of Education
More resources from the U.S. Census: