Census 2020: Why rural counts | Teresa Hoffman

Leader letters to the editor
By now, you have most likely received a postcard or letter in your mailbox inviting you to participate in the 2020 Census.
Set forth as an effort to count everyone in the U.S., the data collected as part of the census impacts everyone who is, or is not, counted.
Before your mailer filters to the bottom of your to-do stack, take a moment to recognize why completing the census is so important, especially for residents of rural communities and states.
At its most basic level, data collected through the census ensures equal representation in government, the distribution of federal tax dollars back to states, and provides much-needed data and counts. With this data, policy- and decision-makers at all levels of government, as well as sectors of business, industry and services, can make informed decisions.
Given the ever-increasing diversity of rural residents, an aging population and the disparities in access to services, from broadband to health care, counting every person living in a rural area is incredibly important.
Unfortunately, our rural populations are often more difficult to count due to remoteness, limited broadband access, or other socioeconomic factors. That is where you play an important role in helping ensure that you and your rural neighbors are counted.
First, complete the census for yourself and those living in your home—online, by mail, phone, or in-person interview. Second, encourage your neighbors, family members and friends to do the same.
Don’t let April 1 come and go without being counted.
For more information, visit census.gov.
Teresa Hoffman
Policy communications associate, Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, Neb.
Note: Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic and environmental issues.

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