The U.S. Constitution mandates a county of
everyone, both citizens and non-citizens. The first United States
census in 1790 estimated the country’s population at just over 3.9
million. The most recent census in 2010 showed 308.7 million
residents, a 9.7% increase from a decade earlier in 2000.
This year, the census will consist of a 9-question form asking basic
questions, including name, gender, age, date of birth, race,
ethnicity, relationship, and home ownership. The form asks for a
count of all who live at their “usual residence” as of April 1,
2020. Usual residence has been defined as the place where a person
lives and sleeps most of the time. The Census is mandated by the
Constitution to count everyone living in the United States on April
1, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. Even
people living in a given area temporarily, if counted on the census
form, are counted in the population count of that area.
The form is available in six languages. By law, the Census Bureau
cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other
federal agencies and law enforcement entities.
While its purpose is to take an enumeration, the data collected from
the forms is used by all levels of government to determine many
other things. First, population of a state, and areas within each
state, determine representation in the House of Representatives.
Thus, how many seats each state will have in Congress, and how those
congressional district boundaries are redrawn after the next
election, will be guided by census figures.
A great amount of government funding for programs
is based on census statistics. Federal dollars are distributed based
on the population count for services including school lunch and Head
Start programs, education, transportation, health care and job
training. Census results are also used to compile statistical
information for use in such decision-making as planning future
locations of schools and fire and police departments, new roads,
hospitals, child-care and senior centers — even where to locate
supermarkets, new housing, businesses and other facilities.
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Accurate census counts help communities get their fair share of
more than $875 billion in federal funding each year. CAPCIL (Community Action
Partnership of Central Illinois) estimates that for every person not counted in
our community, Lincoln and Logan County will lose $1,400 a year for the next 10
years in critical programs which help our residents. The state of Illinois and
the county of Logan are both projected to lose population after this year’s
By federal law, every household in the United States must participate in the
2020 census. Census workers will visit households that do not return forms to
take a count in person.
Many communities have set up centers to enable residents who do not have
technology access to complete the form online. The U.S. Farm Bureau in Lincoln
and the Lincoln Public Library both have computer stations.
The city of Lincoln and the county of Logan have jointly established a Complete
Count Committee who is charged with the mission to encourage participation in
this year’s census. They encourage all residents to participate and say, “I
count.” For more information on the U.S. Census, visit
[Complete Count Committee of Lincoln
and Logan County]