‘It only works if everyone’s counted’: Census end nears

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids leaders don’t want the stresses of 2020 to cause people to forget about the important of the census.

During a Wednesday morning press conference encouraging residents to respond, officials reminded that the nationwide count ends Sept. 30.

The census determines federal funding for municipalities — about $18,000 per person over a decade. That means the count can mean about $3.5 billion for the city of Grand Rapids and about $12 billion for Kent County. The good news is that about 90% of people in Grand Rapids have completed the census, but the remaining 10% accounts for more than $500 million over the next decade.

The census also decides representation in Congress and in Michigan will be the first component of the upcoming redistricting.

“It’s foundational to our society,” Lou Canfield of the Complete Count Committee said of the census. “It’s right at the beginning of the Constitution that this is how political power gets divvied up in our society. Thankfully we do it by a count, not based on something else, and so everybody participating is what makes that work. … And then that’s also being applied to the funding to make sure that’s distributed in a fair manner. But it only works if everyone’s counted.”

The money decided by the census also gets funneled to places like schools, hospitals and health clinics.

The census, which takes about 10 minutes, can be completed via mail, online or over the phone at 844.330.2020. It is completely confidential and there are no questions about citizenship or residency.

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