LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Census forms are being mailed out across the country this week.
The census is a count of every single person living in the country. It happens every 10 years, and it directly impacts everything from who your member of Congress is to how the federal government divides $675 billions in funds to communities throughout the US.
The Census form will not ask about citizenship status, and the census can be filled out by mail or done online or by phone in 13 languages.
Ashley Reynolds Marshall is the CEO of the YWCA and is helping to educate people about the census.
“When we think about the state of our roads, when we think about our education, all of that is funding that’s coming from the Census.”
She’s working to make sure everyone in our area is counted, especially communities that are typically under-counted.
“That includes our aging population, young children under 5, homeless populations, and also minority groups like African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.”
For children under five who aren’t counted, that impacts their school public school education into their teen years. Children can slip through the cracks for situations like shared custody or fostering.
“It’s just by accident,” said Reynolds Marshall. “Parents not knowing if they should fill it out, grandparents who are caretakers wondering if they should add the child in, but please feel free if you are caretaking for that youngster. They’re in your home? You should fill it out.”
A proper count is crucial for funding things like road projects and public schools.
“Some people say ‘oh I don’t want people in my business,'” said Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy. “It’s actually a great thing for our city and our community and it will help bring funds and resources back to our citizens.”
Reynolds Marshall assures residents their private information is confidential.
“All of the information is absolutely safe. It’s going to go straight to the Census Bureau.”
Employees who share confidential information face a $250,000 fine or 5 years in jail.