Ahead of the census next year, local officials are being asked by census representatives to help out with a successful census, especially in Marion County where census reps are voicing concern about falling participation.
Marion County commissioners say census participation in Palmyra, Missouri, lagged behind other areas in the county, and dropped several percentage points between the 2000 and 2010 census, something they want help to correct next April.
“The census can impact us indirectly through the money we receive in our federal dollars from the federal department of education,” said Superintendent of Palmyra Public Schools Kirt Malone.
According to Malone, when they go to write grants or seek funds, census information is something they can rely on to show the need.
That’s in line with what the government has to say about the census too, citing public safety, healthcare and public policy as other things impacted by census results.
“We could access census information to identify pockets of need in our community,” said Superintendent Malone.
For all those reasons, Marion County commissioners said they aim to get census participation as high as possible in 2020 in Palmyra.
“The census is important, your legislative districts are based off of that, the proportion of federal dollars that comes back to the county is based off of that, there’s really a lot that ties into having good accurate numbers,” said Marion County Presiding Commissioner David Lomax.
Lomax said they’re in the early stages of coming up with a strategic plan to get the word out about the census.
“[Census officials] asked us to come up with ideas for a steering committee for lack of a better word of local leaders, pastors, business leaders that could kind of be cheerleaders for the census,” said Lomax.
“Filling out the census is one way you can take part in the democratic process,” said Superintendent Malone, talking about his own feelings on the subject.
The 2020 census will start on April 1st of next year, when households will receive an invitation to participate.
According to the 2020 census website, people will be able to respond to the census via phone, mail, or online.
Lomax said people going door-to-door to talk to residents about the census is something that happens near the end of the process to ask for participation from people who haven’t responded yet.