By Angie Gamez
Special to the Press
The 2020 Census schedule, census data benefits to the community, community involvement, new changes to facilitate response rates, and opportunities for temporary part-time jobs were some of the topics discussed at last week’s Coffee and Conversation event by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce.
Partnership Specialists, Juan Gonzalez and Benito Sanchez with the Dallas Regional Census Center were featured speakers at Coffee and Conversation, held on January 9, 2020, at the Padre Island Brewing Company.
Starting March 12, invitations to complete the 2020 Census will begin arriving in your physical address mailboxes. Some new changes are being introduced.
“For the first time in the history of the census, you may respond online as an option,” Sanchez said.
Of the more than $675 billion budget for the census, “Texas is slated to get approximately $43 billion out of the pot,” according to Juan Gonzalez. “The Valley, on average, is 25 percent undercounted at the local level. We want to make sure everyone is counted.” This includes children ages 0-5 and the 65 plus age group.
Sanchez spoke about the 65 plus generation and how many of them prefer paper questionnaires and that will remain an option for them. There is also a 1-800 direct line number they may call that is designated specifically for their language. YouTube videos are available to assist in filling out the census in their language.
Since 1790, the census has been conducted every 10 years as required by the U.S. Constitution. Every person in the U.S. is required to complete the census.
The results of the census are used in many ways. The data is used to determine how many House of Representative seats each state gets and allows state officials to redraw the boundaries of their districts based on population shifts. An example was provided regarding the 2010 census and how the results helped Texas gain 4 additional congressional seats.
With the 2020 census, Texas is expected to gain three additional congressional seats.
Census data is also used to support state, county and community programs. Businesses, local governments, real estate developers, and chambers of commerce all benefit from the census data.
The census data you provide is confidential and protected by federal law. No question asks about U.S. citizenship. This year, the Census includes nine (9) questions, which are available on the 2020census.gov website.
Ways you may participate in the 2020 Census include completing the census, sharing information from the 2020census.gov website at city and community events, and applying online for a part time job with flexible hours. Go to 2020census.gov/jobs.
The next Coffee and Conversation is scheduled for February 13, at Padre Brewing Company, featuring SPI police and fire department plans for Spring Break.