The 2020 census campaign will be launched Monday.
Ames Mayor John Haila, Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen and a representative from the United States Census Bureau will launch the 2020 census “Claim Ames” public awareness campaign with a press conference 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.
“The census is a snapshot or a count of the number of people in the community,” said Susan Gwiasda, city of Ames public relations officer. “It doesn’t look at why you’re in the community or how long you’re going to stay because you may not know. It’s a count, and for that count, if you’re an international student going to school in Ames — whether you’re a citizen of another country or a citizen of the United States — you need to claim Ames on your census.
Students are required to complete a form in the community they live in for the majority of the year. Parents of the students are told by the census that the student needs to fill out the form in the city they are attending school at.
The campaign will make special efforts to connect with the students to inform the community 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.
“[The census will] ask just a couple of questions; they’re pretty easy questions, and it shouldn’t take that long,” Gwiasda said. “Census will never ask [...] those kinds of questions where you would feel they’re invasive.”
The census will arrive in the form of a postcard with a code and a link to a form.
“The census is much more than just a head count,” said Ames Mayor John Haila in a press release. “It provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where to build new schools, hospitals, and businesses; how federal funding is distributed and how congressional seats are apportioned. It also helps us see how our communities have changed over time.”
Political representation is determined by population and based on the census numbers; $675 billion annually is distributed in federal funds.
Those who live in group housing such as dorms, sorority and fraternity housing, Gwiasda said the city is currently developing a system to send the census information.
More information about the census can be found on the 2020 Census website.