PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The headcount the United States does every 10 years is imminent, meaning workers for the 2020 Census will begin canvassing the countryside in the coming weeks.
The snapshot counting who lives where and the resources they need, “defines the future of our state,” Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said. “Even a 1% undercount will lead to millions of dollars being lost.”
Gorbea’s office and federal census officials hosted a “Train the Trainers” workshop at the State House library Thursday morning for state team leaders.
Getting everyone counted by the census is crucial in order to receive sufficient federal funding for the next 10 years for education, public safety and road upkeep.
Rhode Island is facing the potential of losing a congressional seat if our population has dropped drastically.
Federal census reps told Eyewitness News earlier this year that Rhode Island is the hardest state to count in New England, and Gorbea said the Ocean State has one of the lowest census participation rates in the country.
“We have a lot of multi-family buildings, we have a young population, all sorts of things,” she said. “Renters, for example, make it hard for there to be a complete and accurate count.”
The census will begin with everyone in the country being mailed a postcard with a web address.
Residents will be directed to fill out the census forms online. Nothing physical will need to be filled out and sent back.
If you don’t go online and enter your response by April, you can expect a knock on the door by a census taker.
It’s important to make sure and know what to watch out for, Gorbea said.
“Any person who goes to knock on the door for the census will be visibly identified with an official ID,” Gorbea said. “If the person does not have that, if they say, ‘Oh, I forgot it at home,’ don’t answer the questions; you don’t have to meet with that person.”
There is no citizenship question on the census, even though there has been discussion about one potentially popping up.
Residents are asked to watch their mail for the postcard, which will be sent out during the last two weeks of March.
Anyone who has questions or concerns regarding the process can reach out to the Census Bureau by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.