Why an Accurate Census Count is Important for Montana

 

Funding

For every Montana resident counted, the Census estimates the state will receive nearly $2,000 per person each year in federal funding. The $20,000 per person coming into the state over the next decade is used in every Montana county for medical assistance, educational programs, need-based support, infrastructure, highway planning and over 300 other programs. Spending just a few minutes to complete your Census form will help ensure Montana gets its fair share of federal funding. Filling out the form is quick, easy, safe and important.

 

Apportionment and Redistricting

Census data is used to define legislative districts, establish school districts and guide decision making in many other functional areas of government. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Montana is one of the states on the cusp of gaining an additional congressperson, so getting a complete count is more important than ever.

 

Data

Census data is used to inform community decisions. Think of it like a snapshot of who we are as a community every decade. Data for each area are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to provide services for seniors, where to build new roads and schools and where to locate job training centers. Census data is also used by organizations to obtain grant funding for key programs helping Montanans.

 

 

How to Take the Census

The U.S. Census asks just nine questions and takes 10 minutes to respond..

By April 1, 2020 households should receive a letter by mail or left at their door with an invitation to participate and instructions on how to complete the census questionnaire.

Households include houses, apartments, cabins, mobile homes—pretty much any place where people live in the United States. In areas where most of housing units do not have mail delivered to their physical location, census workers will leave questionnaire packages at every identified housing unit. The census process also includes special provisions to count people who are homeless and those in other types of living quarters, such as college dorms, military barracks, ships, prisons, nursing homes, and homeless shelters.

Filling out the Census is quick, easy, and safe. In 2020 households will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

 

Online – Respond online using the internet or smartphone with the instructions received in the mail or in the packet materials left at your address.

Phone – Respond over the telephone by calling the census call center listed on the census card.

Mail – you can fill out the census questionnaire in English or Spanish and mail the form, postage-free, back to the Census Bureau. If you need the form in another languages, forms are available on-line in seven different languages.

If you do not receive a U.S. Census postcard in the mail with your unique I.D. number, you can still self-respond to the census questionnaire.

 In May of 2020, the Census Bureau will begin following up with households that have not responded.

By law, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. That’s protected under Title 13 of the U.S. code.

 

Your Response Matters. Montana is a big state. With more than 147,000 square miles of land to cover we need to work together to ensure a complete count. Accurate census data means everyone in the community gets their fair share of resources and has a representative political voice. The most vulnerable populations for an undercount are tribal nations, children under five, seniors and people who live in rural places.

How Can I Help?

Achieving a complete and accurate count of all Montanans requires the participation and collaboration of individuals, businesses, community organizations, state, tribal, and local government, tribes, schools and more to ensure everyone is counted once, only once, and in the right place.

Encourage Your Community to Respond to the Census

Mostly importantly, encourage your family, friends, neighbors – everyone in your community to respond to the census online beginning in March of 2020. We need trusted voices like yours from local communities to help count every resident in Montana and that their response will be completely confidential. 

Montana receives nearly $20,000 in federal funding per person over the decade through more than 300 programs which benefit the entire community: health care, nutrition, highways, education, housing, jobs and more. Get involved and ensure your community is counted fully.

Get Involved with a Complete Count Committee

Complete Count Committees (CCCs) are volunteer committees established by tribal and local governments along with community leaders or organizations. They can include representatives of businesses, schools, tribal and local government, community-based organizations, and faith-based groups.

U.S. Census Bureau’s Montana team is forming Complete Count Committees statewide to raise awareness, answer questions, and encourage community members to participate. Get involved with a CCC in your community by volunteering or inviting CCC members to your next community gathering. A map of Montana's CCC's can be found here. 

Apply to Work for the U.S. Census in your Community

Apply to work with the U.S. Census Bureau as a paid employee. There are thousands of job opportunities available in Montana. These jobs are ideal for retirees, students, seniors and anyone who wants to work. 

Conduct a Census Activity

Commit to do at least ONE THING to get Montana a complete count.  Some ideas include requesting Census materials to display in community; volunteering to record a radio PSA to be aired on local radio stations; hosting a Census awareness event; inviting someone from the U.S. Census or the MT 2020 State Committee to present at a local meeting.

Stay Informed and Share Information on Social Media

Stay informed and work in your community to build awareness about the 2020 Census. Follow the U.S. Census Bureau and Montana Census 2020 on Facebook and help spread the word by sharing and creating your own census content with your friends, family, and followers across various social media platforms. Keep tabs on U.S. Census Bureau and regional Montana Census news and share those stories with your network. Share the latest posts from Montana 2020 Census Facebook


MONTANA OFFICE OF TOURISM AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
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