Getting a complete count of every adult and child in the Town of Queen Creek during the 2020 Census helps get local federal funds and could get the state an additional seat --- or seats --- in the U.S. House of Representatives, officials said.
Those are two of the most important reasons to be counted, Chris Moss, chair of the Queen Creek Complete Count Committee, said.
“First, the federal government uses the Census population counts to determine how it distributes federal funds. If towns that have experienced significant growth since the last Census --- like Queen Creek --- don’t get a complete count, they risk losing the funds that are needed to help build roads and infrastructure to support their growth,” he said.
“Second, the Census is used to determine the number of representatives each state has in Congress. After the last Census, Arizona was one of eight states to gain representatives --- 10 states lost representatives. The significant growth Arizona has experienced since then could lead to additional gains in Congress based on this coming Census. Having more elected officials in Congress is an important way to promote local issues at the federal level,” Mr. Moss said.
An accurate count is needed, Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said.
“Census data is used to determine state-shared revenues and legislative representation. If we do not have an accurate count, we will not receive our fair share of revenues. The Census data also serves as the baseline for annual population estimates until 2030,” he said.
As of July 1, 2018, there are 42,503 people living in Queen Creek, but on Census Day of April 1, 2010, the population was 26,361, according to census.gov/quickfacts/queencreektownarizona.
Compiled Census data helps the town plan for the future, officials said.
“The town uses the data to supplement our forecasting, helping ensure we are planning for the necessary programs, services and infrastructure for today and into the future,” Mayor Barney said.
“In my opinion, the Town of Queen Creek has done an excellent job planning for and responding to the growth it has experienced over the past decade,” Mr. Moss said. “As the town contemplates future investments and development, it is vital to have an accurate count of the residents who are here now.”
The 2020 Census counts every person living in the U.S. and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)--- once, only once, and in the right place, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, according to census.gov.
The response to the 2020 Census is important and helps ensure that more than $675 billion in federal funds is directed to the right places to support education, roads, health care, firefighting and more each year. Many decisions about where and how to allocate funding are based on census data, according to the website.
The census is conducted every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data collected determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities, the website states.
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. There will be three options for responding: online, by phone and by mail.
“Residents are looking forward to more options in completing the Census. The online and phone options allow residents to complete the Census when it is convenient for them, avoiding that knock on the door,” Mayor Barney said.
Most people Mr. Moss speaks to about the 2020 Census are excited that it can be completed online, he said.
“Next spring’s Census will be the first to offer residents the option to complete the Census online. Those we’ve spoken to at our outreach events have been surprised when we’ve told them that the typical home will be able to complete the Census’s nine short questions in under 10 minutes. When they also hear that each person counted in the Census represents approximately $3,000 in federal funds that are distributed to state and local levels, I think they see how 10 minutes of their time can have a significant positive impact on our community,” he said.
“Each person counted generates an estimated $3,000 in state and federal funding, which trickles down to fund important programs and services at the local, county and state level. In FY2020, 21% of the Town’s operating revenue is state-shared revenue,” Constance Halonen-Wilson, the town’s public information officer, said.
As required by the Census Act, the U.S. Census Bureau submitted a list of questions to Congress on March 29, 2018. Based on those questions, the 2020 Census will ask:
• How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020. “This will help us count the entire U.S. population and ensure that we count people according to where they live on Census Day,” according to the Census website.
• Whether the home is owned or rented. “This will help us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy. They also help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions,” the website states.
• About the sex of each person in your home. “This allows us to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations and policies against discrimination,” according to census.gov.
• About the age of each person in your home. “The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults,” the website states.
• About the race of each person in your home. “This allows us to create statistics about race and to provide other statistics by racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act,” according to the Census website.
• About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. “These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act,” the website states.
• About the relationship of each person in your home. “This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone,” according to the website.
The Complete Count Committee is working with Town of Queen Creek staff members on a multifaceted approach to share information related to the Census, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.
“With a focus on the Census being important, safe and easy, outreach includes committee members attending events --- ice cream social, Founders’ Day, high school football games, etc.; community meetings --- Chamber of Commerce, P&Z, Citizen Leadership Institute, etc.; sharing information on social media and providing information to community partners,” she said.
Working on the committee is a great way to give back to the community, Chairman Moss said.
“My family moved to Queen Creek several years ago after I retired from the military. We wanted to get involved with the town, so last year I participated in Queen Creek’s Citizen Leadership Institute. The CLI is a great program that teaches Queen Creek residents about the town and how it operates,” he said.
“After graduating from the program, a member of the CLI staff asked if I would be willing to be part of the town’s Census effort. I thought it would be a great way to give back to the community --- and it’s been a fantastic experience,” Mr. Moss said.
In addition to Mr. Moss, those on the committee are: Vice Chair Tom Duford and members Bobbie Church-Peck, Mary Gloria, Ken Key, Bryan McClure, Christine McKean, Cort Monroe, Beth Riley and Maria Silva.
Committee members attended a variety of events to get the word out, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said, such as: Oct. 18 Casteel Football and Queen Creek football games, Oct. 19 Trunk or Treat, Oct. 22 Parks & Rec Advisory Committee, Oct. 23 Economic Development Commission, Nov. 6 Senior Program, Nov. 14 Transportation Advisory Committee and the Nov. 16 Pancake Breakfast.
“The town created a Complete Count Committee to help ensure everyone is counted in Queen Creek. The committee is doing a fantastic job getting the word out about the Census and will be very helpful in the spring as we continue to reach out to the community,” Mayor Barney said.
Additional information is on the town’s website, QueenCreek.org/Census2020.
In May 2020, census takers are to begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help ensure everyone is counted. At the same time, other Census Bureau representatives will be visiting homes for ongoing surveys, such as the American Community Survey.
Census takers who verify addresses are called address canvassers. They help ensure an accurate and complete count by verifying addresses and noting where houses, apartments, shelters, and other residences are located. Census takers will attempt to knock on every door in the neighborhood they are canvassing.
Other reasons census takers may be in a neighborhood, according to 2020census.gov/en/census-takers.html, include:
• They are verifying addresses in preparation for the census.
• They are collecting responses to the census or another survey.
• They are dropping off census materials.
• They are conducting quality checks related to the census.
If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:
• First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
• If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center (in Denver, at 1-800-852-6159, according to census.gov/about/regions.html) to speak with a Census Bureau representative.