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What is the census and why is it important?

Once a decade, mandated by the Constitution since 1790, the United States creates national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics by counting every resident in the United States. The census counts population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities' vital programs - impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, healthcare, and public safety. Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The Census Bureau depends on cross-sector collaborations with organizations and individuals to get people to participate.

Why the 2020 Census is Important to Nebraska

Equal Representation in Government

The Census is conducted every 10 years to ensure equal representation in elected government at the federal, state, and local levels.

Return of Resident Tax Dollars to Nebraska

The Census establishes Nebraska’s proportion of all federal funds for the next 10 years. In the fiscal year 2016, $3.995 billion in federal funds were obligated in Nebraska based upon resident counts from the 2010 Census and subsequent annual population estimates. This equates to $2,096 in federal funds distributed annually for each Nebraska resident. When residents are not counted the state loses federal dollars that should be sent to local areas.

Douglas County Complete Count Committee

The Douglas County Complete Count Committee (CCC) was initiated by Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson to implement and plan locally-based outreach campaigns that raise awareness of the upcoming 2020 Census at a local level by educating residents encouraging participation. The committee will meet these goals by:

  • Identifying groups to target for priority attention to encourage their members to be counted in the 2020 Census
  • Encouraging participation in the 2020 Census by the public generally, and target groups in particular
  • Providing information on how to participate in the census, communicate the benefits of participating, and ultimately increase self-response and participation rates.

This committee meets on the last Monday of every month starting in July of 2019 into the census season until July 2020 from 10:00 - 11:30 am. Each meeting is held at a complete count committee representative’s location of Nebraska, either in Bennington, Boys Town, Omaha (at the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency), Ralston, and Valley.

Click Here to view upcoming meetings and previous meeting minutes.

Douglas County Complete Count Committee Members:

Member Organization
Janet Bonet Douglas County Commissioner Appointee
Micky Devitt University of Nebraska Omaha Center for Public Affairs Research
David Drozd University of Nebraska Omaha Center for Public Affairs Research
Cheryl Eckerman City of Valley, Nebraska
Travis Harlow City of Waterloo, Nebraska
Mindi Laaker City of Bennington, Nebraska
Linda Marchello Douglas County Commissioner Appointee
Walt Peffer Douglas County Commissioner Appointee
Rosemarie Russell City of Ralston, Nebraska
Theresa Ryan Boys Town, Nebraska
Kyle Skartvedt Boys Town, Nebraska
Jeff Spiehs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA)
Stacy Spinar City of Valley, Nebraska
Ariana Wesley-Powell Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA)

Census Timeline

The U.S. Census Bureau recommends that local Complete Count Committee structure their work programs around three phases of activity:

  1. Phase I: Education (July through September 2019). During this phase, Committee members will learn more about how Census data is collected and used. The Committee will also develop a work plan.
  2. Phase II: Promotion (July through January 2020). The Committee will educate the public about the Census.
  3. Phase III: Motivation (February 2020 Through June 2020). The Committee will motivate each household to participate in the Census.

Ways to Respond

There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census.

In 2020 you can respond to the census online (using a computer or a smartphone), over the telephone, or by submitting a paper form. Early in 2020, all census addresses will receive a card inviting the residents to complete the census. The 2020 Census provides people with a URL so they can complete the census online, a toll-free telephone number if they want to call in their responses, and an address to request a paper form.

View this handout about how The 2020 Census is Accessible For Everyone