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Low response could be costly to region

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

It’s easy, and it doesn’t take very long, but some neglect to respond to the U.S. Census, possibly costing Johnson County much-needed funding. In mid-March, most households received an invitation in the mail to respond to the 2020 Census. Census takers are scheduled to visit households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census beginning in August.

“As we hopefully move through the Covid-19 virus and things begin to reopen, it is a great time to refocus on the importance of Census 2020,” said Mike Taylor, Johnson County Mayor, who stresses the total number we count now will affect us for the next ten years. “The official count for Johnson County does determine how much Federal or State money potentially comes back to us locally. It is estimated that we lose approximately $1,100 per person that is not counted in the census.”

The most recent data (this week) for Johnson County is a 59.7 percent completion rate, which slightly below the state rate of 61 percent and the current national level of 60.9 percent.

Over the next ten years, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use data collected during the census to make crucial decisions. The results will indicate where communities need new schools, clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children, in addition, will dictate how federal funding is allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

The 2020 Census asks a few simple questions about you and everyone who was living with you on April 1, 2020.Businesses use population statistics to help decide where to add jobs or open new stores, offices, or other businesses in communities across the country.

If your household has not received an invitation, please respond online at 2020census.gov, or by phone at 844-330-2020.Ensuring that every resident is counted is critical for funding, representation, and investment in Mountain City and Johnson County.

Mayor Taylor would like to thank those who have already submitted Census 2020 responses. “Let me encourage everyone else to go to 2020census.gov and spend about 7 minutes completing the survey,” he said.