Census Bureau Specialist Visits County Count Committee

The team in charge of helping prepare and make aware Livingston County residents on the upcoming census was visited by a specialist in finding hard to reach people.

The Livingston County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee met Tuesday afternoon at the EMS Building in Howell Township. The 11-member committee is made up of county officials and stakeholders, and is chaired by County Commissioner Doug Helzerman. Helzerman said their focus is going to be heavier in places where there would be an anticipated low count, and that they will have help from the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA) in the west side of the county.

To help kick start their efforts, the Complete Count Committee was visited by Senior Census Bureau Partnership Specialist for Michigan, Linda Clark. Clark gave a 90-minute presentation highlighting the importance of the census and areas that the committee may need to target.

In trying to get everyone counted, she noted that it’s not just the homeless that are hard to reach. Clark also pointed to children under 5, farm workers, immigrants, people living in poverty, people with disabilities, renters, senior citizens and young adults, snowbirds, and college students. Snowbirds, Clark says, should register where their primary residence is located. Students living on campus, however, should register where their campus is located. Clark said she often hears concerns from Millennials about not wanting their information sent to the government and White House. She explained to the committee that all information is confidential and that what gets sent to the government is aggregate information, not specific names and addresses. This socioeconomic and demographic information often proves valuable to developers. Workers take a lifetime oath to keep information confidential, and the Census Bureau can’t release it for 72 years.

Getting accurate numbers is important because federal funding for infrastructure, schools, and hospitals is tied to census data. Clark said each person left uncounted could cost the county $18,000 in lost federal funding every year for 10 years. Census Day is April 1st, and correspondences with information on how to register will be sent out in mid-March. The Census Bureau is asking that all people fill out the 10-question census form online or by phone. Hard copies will be available to people without access to either option.

The Complete Count Committee will meet next on Tuesday, January 28th, at 3pm at the Livingston County EMS building. (MK)

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