This month, all of us — every address in the country — will receive a letter about the 2020 census. We’ll be invited to fill in the census online, on a printed form, or by phone. The census asks who is in our households on April 1 and some basic information about each person. It does not ask for citizenship or immigration status.

Historically, a lot of people ignore the census. That’s unfortunate because it determines how our states and communities will receive federal funds for the next 10 years–money for hospitals, schools, roads, and more. In 2010, only 1.6 percent of preschoolers in Ulster County were counted. The result is that our local schools do not receive federal assistance for all the children they serve.

The census also affects legislative representation. It determines how many seats in Congress each state gets. And census results affect redistricting: if the response rate is low again this year, Congressional District 19 may be absorbed into adjacent districts.

Get help completing the census

The census is very important for immigrants. As a community and as a country with a growing Latinx population, it’s essential to have an accurate picture of who we are. Resources need to be shared fairly. So UIDN is partnering with other agencies including Rural & Migrant Ministry and Nobody Leaves MidHudson to provide information to immigrant families.

Participants can also learn about the census–what it is, why it’s important, and how the census bureau guarantees safety. Census responses submitted online are encrypted the moment they’re sent. They are inaccessible to anyone but the census department.

At UIDN’s April sharing day (where volunteers distribute food, clothing, and household goods) Spanish-speaking volunteers will be available to help families fill in and submit census forms. Families who submit responses in April can be confident that census takers will not knock on their doors in May.

The U.S. has counted its population this way every 10 years since 1790. Let’s all help each other be part of this year’s count! For additional information and resources visit English or Spanish. More than 50 other languages are available. (Editors note: as of June 6/21 these links are no longer working.)

Submitted by Jo Salas

Photo: U.S. Census Bureau

Click here to download the 2-page PDF below. One page is English, the other Spanish.