It’s almost time for the 2020 census, and University of Kansas students will be responsible for making sure they’re counted in Douglas County.
The census comes around every 10 years. It affects multiple governance factors for Lawrence and the state government, according to the United States Census Bureau. Part of the information determines where businesses choose to locate themselves, how much federal funding is allocated toward Kansas and any redistricting that may need to happen for upcoming elections.
Gov. Laura Kelly established a Kansas Complete Count Committee in April 2019 through an executive order. She said she wants to help ensure every Kansas resident gets counted.
“As Governor, I’m committed to ensuring the data we collect is as accurate as possible,” Kelly said in a news release. “The data collected in the Census informs how the federal government distributes funds to our state – through 55 different federal programs. And it’s these funds that help to pay for roads, schools, hospitals, emergency services and much more.”
Kelly appointed Student Body President Tiara Floyd to the general Kansas Complete Count Committee. As an extension of her appointment, Floyd plans to create a committee specifically for KU students, she said.
Floyd said she plans to reach out to different student organizations and recruit more students to be involved.
People can complete the census online, through the phone or through the mail, she said.
All U.S. residents are expected to complete the census on or before April 1, 2020. After that date, people will start contacting those who haven’t filled out the census.
“It literally costs money to your community if you don’t [fill out the census],” Floyd said. “Every time a student in Lawrence doesn’t fill out the census, that’s about $2,000 that Lawrence is losing in federal dollars that they could have.”
The census specifically is based on where people are living on April 1, Floyd said. Students who may be from out-of-state or any other Kansas cities should fill out the census as Lawrence residents.
There is also no citizenship question on the 2020 census, Floyd said, so any undocumented students can fill out the census as well.
“I hope that everyone would fill out the census,” Floyd said. “I know that’s completely unrealistic, but I hope that we see a more upward trend of the numbers being filled out.”
Students can sign up through the United States Census Bureau for text updates when it’s time to fill out the 2020 census.