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Time to be counted; census begins with kickoff event at library

Next week, Boulder City residents will have the opportunity to be counted in the 2020 census to determine how the nation’s residents will be represented and where funds will be distributed for the next decade.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a population and housing count of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the island areas. The results determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and how the congressional and state legislative districts are drawn.

Federal agencies also use the results to determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds will be distributed annually to local communities, including money for public schools.

“Being counted is especially important in a small community like Boulder City,” said Mayor Kiernan McManus. “Nevada ranks 37th for population, making each dollar returned even more important. These dollars help fund our schools, programs for senior citizens and many other services. Estimates are that each person not counted means $20,000 in returned tax dollars is lost to another state or city.”

McManus also encouraged part-time residents to participate.

“If you are residing in Boulder City on April 1st, you are a Boulder City resident for the census. And that’s no April Fool’s joke,” he said. “We need everyone to be counted for us to receive our fair share.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau media specialist Misty D. Slater, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail this month explaining how to respond to the 2020 census.

“We have three options for responding,” she said. “For the first time, you can respond online and it is mobile-friendly. You can also respond by phone and by mail.”

On March 12, residents can be counted at a census kickoff event at the Boulder City Library, 701 Adams Blvd. It goes from 9 a.m. to noon. Attendees will be able to fill out the census online. There will also be light refreshments.

Census day is observed throughout the country April 1, and by then every home should have received an invitation to participate and tell the Census Bureau where they will live.

Slater said if people do not participate, they will receive several reminders in the mail through the end of April. At that time, someone from the bureau will contact them in person to get their response.

“A census taker will visit that residence to help ensure a complete and accurate 2020 census count,” she said. “The census is so important that your response is required by law, and … answers are kept completely confidential.”

Slater said the bureau can only use the responses to produce statistics and not responding by phone, mail or online will cost more taxpayer money.

“The sooner you respond, the fewer reminders we’ll need to send, and the fewer taxpayer dollars we’ll need to spend to get a complete count,” she said. “It’s much more expensive to send a census taker to your door to interview you in person than it is for you to respond on your own.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen also stressed the importance of participating and encouraged Nevada residents to do it.

“The census is so much more than just a head count,” she said. “It is the tool we use to determine how congressional seats are apportioned, how state and federal dollars are distributed, and where businesses decide to invest their money. In order to do this properly, the count needs to be accurate. It is critical that all Nevadans participate.”

For more information about the census, go to www.census.gov.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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