In March, homes across the country received invitations to complete the 2020 Census. The cities of Bryan and College Station need responses to ensure residents are counted and programs don't lose funding or their voice in government matters.
Responding to the Census is not only your civic duty, it also affects the amount of funding your community receives, how your community plans for the future and your representation in government.
“This impacts billions of dollars in federal funding in the next 10 years,” said Jade Broadnax, Staff Planner for the City of College Station.
The cities of Bryan and College Station allocate 15% of the annual community development block grant funds they receive from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist local non-profit agencies. A low response to the Census means lower federal funding for those non-profit agencies.
“When we reduced funds coming in, that means reduced services to those in our community who might need some help. It also means less resources available to do projects that would address our low and moderate-income population,” said Debbie Eller, Community Development Director for the City of College Station.
As of last week, the City of College Station had just surpassed 50% of the population responding to the Census, while the City of Bryan says they have about 56%.
“So that's people self-responding by phone, by mail or online to the Census,” said City of Bryan’s Census Coordinator Allison Kay.
Bryan and College Station are seeing a lack in the student population responding to the Census as many went back home when the Census invitations were sent out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Especially with the pandemic, they were gone April 1, and so there was just a general confusion on are they going to be counted. Are their parents going to count them or do they count here? So we’ve tried to correct a lot of that miss information,” said Kay.
The deadline for the Census has been moved up to September 30, which gives cities and Census workers less time to make sure everyone is accounted for.
“So, September 30, you know we need to have all the counts done,” said Kay.
Starting Tuesday, August 11, Census workers will be on the ground going door to door to those who have no yet self responded
You can still self respond up until September 30, even though Census workers will be on the ground starting Tuesday. You can also fill out the Census by mail, phone or online.