Here are some facts about the upcoming census

By PAT BROWN,

The upcoming 2020 Census can determine much about the future of Simpson County.  Unfortunately, many residents do not take the census seriously and do not understand all of the issues at stake in getting a proper count.

Magee and the surrounding area was designated as one of the undercounted areas in the state of Mississippi in the last census, according to Chris Lane, the designee for the census in the city of Magee.  Lane said the initial count for the Magee area was only 25 to 29 percent of the actual population. 

The census is required by the Constitution of the United States. The first census was provided in 1790 and is conducted every ten years after.

The census to be conducted across the nation in 2020 creates some important issues that the public may not be aware of.  First, everyone counts and should be counted one and only one time and in the right place. 

  The counting of residents is important because local and state governments are funded based on population, which in part determines how much of the $675 billion federal budget will be distributed locally. 

There are other reasons to take the census seriously. It determines representation in the  U. S. House of Representatives, whose members are elected based on the size of population that is recorded from census data. That data could also be used to determine whether district lines need to be redrawn based on population growth or shift. 

Census data is also important because it can be used for community initiatives, legislation and quality of life issues. 

According to federal law, census information can not be used for anything other than producing statistics.  It can not be used by law enforcement agencies or to determine benefits. 

But the raw data or statistics can be used to generate information to create jobs.  It can be used by local government to create public safety policy and emergency preparedness.  Information from the census could be used by developers to build new homes or to attract new businesses. 

Participating in the 2020 census will be easier than ever before because it now can be done on line.  To complete it, go on line to 2020census.gov and follow the links for additional information.