Looking for something to do with your extra time at home during the coronavirus pandemic? Well, have you completed the 2020 Census for your household? According to information released last week by the U.S Census Bureau, if you live in Greeneville, there’s a better than even chance you have not.
Actually, the Census Bureau’s figures showed that response rates in Greene County and its municipalities are increasing, and that’s a positive sign. However, the report also shows that, as of April 16, a lot of residents still hadn’t responded — more than half in Greeneville and Mosheim, and just under half in Greene County and Baileyton. Tusculum led the way with about 64% of its residents having responded.
Way to go, Tusculum!
Why does it matter? Lots of reasons. Population, as counted in the census, determines how many seats each state gets in Congress. The figures also determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in annual federal funding is divided among states, counties and communities to help pay for things we need such as roads, educational programs and housing assistance. It’s the American thing to do. We’ve counted ourselves every decade since 1790, just after the founders formed our nation.
The list of reasons to participate in the 2020 Census goes on. If you want to learn more, go online to 2020census.gov . You can also complete the census there — you’ll need the information on forms the bureau mailed out in March — as well as by phone or mail.
One more reason to respond now: At some point, the Census Bureau will send people out to collect information from households that haven’t already responded. With field offices closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, that might not begin until June. While we hope the worst of the pandemic will be behind us all well before then, it’s a safe bet that we’ll still be asked to take precautions to protect ourselves, our families and others, like those census workers. So why not make it easier by responding to the census now, in a way that doesn’t involve person-to-person contact?
Come on, Greene County. Be safe. Be smart. Be counted. It’s easy, it’s essential, and it’s the right thing to do.