Ames Mayor John Haila, Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen and a representative from the United States Census Bureau launched the 2020 Census “Claim Ames” public awareness campaign Monday.
"The U.S Constitution requires every 10 years that a census of the population be taken," Haila said. "Collected data is used to help determine political representation and how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to the states and the communities every year. These funds benefit all of Ames residents by allowing us to offer enhanced services and infrastructure."
The launch took place at 11 a.m. on Monday in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. The campaign is focused on obtaining an accurate count of every person living in Ames for the 2020 census.
"So as we think about what we need to do at Iowa State, we're committed to helping educate our students that they, too, need to claim Ames," Wintersteen said.
Students are required to complete a form in the community they live in for the majority of the year — for students, it is the place where they attend school. It is required for students to fill out the census form rather than the parents of the students.
"We know that a complete and accurate census count benefits both the city of Ames and Iowa State University so that we can access critical federal funds," Wintersteen said. "It's important to Iowa State University, for everything from transportation funding for CyRide to public safety. It also helps bring in new business to town like new coffee shops, restaurants, the pharmacy in Campustown and other popular spots for students."
The campaign also included a video featuring several Iowa State students and their input about the census.
The census can be completed by telephone, mail and online — for the first time in history. People will receive a notice in the mail beginning in mid-March, which will allow the participants to respond online.
"So completing the U.S. census is safe, easy and important," Haila said. "When your census form arrives in the mail, please join me in claiming Ames."
The U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to keep the answers strictly confidential, according to the website, and every employee must take an oath to protect the participants' privacy.
The Census will arrive in the form of a postcard with a code and a link to a form and will be sent out by mid-March. More information about the census as well as a timeline can be found on the 2020 census website.