A seminar held by the Missouri Foundation for Health addressed on Thursday problems with undercounting in the 2010 census data Thursday as officials prepare for the 2020 census.

Rural and low-income households were undercounted in the 2010 census, leading to cuts in federal funding and congressional representation for Missouri. Other undercounted groups include communities of color, children under 5 and homeless and disabled populations.

The Missouri Foundation for Health conducted the session to address possible barriers to promoting the accuracy and importance of the upcoming 2020 census.

Census data affects congressional representation, federal funding and state programs. The state lost $1,272 per year for every person or child not counted in the 2010 census, Alex Rankin, government affairs manager for the Missouri Health Foundation, said during the seminar. Missouri, also lost one congressional seat in 2010 due to population loss reflected in the census data.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming census.

When is it?

April 1, 2020, is Census Day, but the first invitations to respond will be sent out March 12-20. Final counts are due to the president Dec. 1, 2020.

How can I respond?

2020 will be the first high tech census, meaning responses can be filled out online, Rankin said. Paper forms will still be sent out to residential addresses. P.O. boxes do not count as residential addresses, so those without a residential address will have to find other ways to respond or receive the paper form.

What location should college students record as their residence?

The census is supposed to be a snapshot of where you are living April 1, 2020. Therefore, students should respond based on where they are living while at school, not where they are from.

What questions will the census ask?

The census asks name, age, sex, birth date, race, Latin or Hispanic heritage and phone number.

Will the census ask about citizenship or immigration status?

No, the census will not ask about citizenship or immigration status.

Why is the census asking for a phone number?

The 2020 census will have an estimated 200,000 fewer employees to go door-to-door than the 2010 census. Having a phone number makes it easier for the U.S. Census Bureau to follow up instead of sending an employee out to a physical location.

What languages does the census come in?

Thirteen languages are available online and over the phone, including English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic. The paper form will come in both English and Spanish.

Is census information private?

Yes, census data cannot be used in legal proceedings, and the U.S. Census Bureau does not share personal information with other governmental agencies, Rankin said.

Will I still be counted if I don’t answer one of the questions?

Your census might be counted if one question is skipped, but more than one could get the form flagged. That would prompt the Census Bureau to try to find you to get the information.

Supervising editor is Fred Anklam.

  • Education reporter, fall 2019 Studying print and digital journalism Reach me at kadthd@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.