The United States Census Bureau is forming a 2020 census committee that will likely consist of officials from governmental agencies, faith-based organizations, school districts and other heads of community organizations.

U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist, March Sunderland, met with the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners March 25 to explain to them what the committee will aim to accomplish and to see if they board would be interested in helping form the committee.

Sunderland said the 2020 census is highly important to Idaho. He said more than $2.4 billion is distributed annually to the state and that funding is distributed based on population. For example, each Idahoan counted equals approximately $1,473.

Therefore, assuring a complete count during the 2020 census will increase state funding.

Sunderland indicated that their goals for the 2020 census is to maintain quality, reduce costs and implements four areas of innovation: efficiency in building and address list, find easier ways for people to respond, develop more efficient field operations and better use the information they already have. One way they are striving to achieve their goal is the implementation of Idaho residents being able to respond via the internet.

Sunderland said an important part of the committee is to reach the hard-to-count populations. Such populations include racial and ethnic minorities, people experiencing homelessness, lower income families, undocumented immigrants, tribal members, people who do not speak English fluently, children under five, rural communities and people who identify LGBTQ.

“Tribal, state and local governments work together with partners in their communities to forms CCCs (Complete County Committees) to promote the 2020 census to their constituents,” Sunderland said. “Community-based organizations also establish CCCs to reach out to their members.”

He said community members are experts in government, media, workforce development, business, education, community organizations, faith-based community and others based on the needs of the committee.

The suggested CCC membership is proposed to consist of the following: mayor or designee chair, heads of relevant government agencies and departments, heads of community organizations, representatives from faith-based organizations, heads of large universities and colleges, heads of business associations, an executive director, a deputy director, state CCC representative, council members from priority target areas, heads of regional associations and heads of the public school system.

Overall the commissioners said one of them would be willing to partake in the committee to help reach the hard-to-count populations.

“We’d probably have a lead from our county commissioners, and then send out letters to the mayors, the superintendents and ask them to send someone to a public meeting,” Commissioner Scott Hancock said. “The one that affects the most, the one that we can get the most traction is our school districts.”

Sunderland said a rough timeline of the upcoming census is as follows: education phase—2018 to 2019; awareness phase—April 2019; motivation phase—March to May, 2020; reminder phase—May to July, 2020; and the “thank you” phase would start July 2020.

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