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Successful Census count in Boyle is vital

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

In a matter of weeks, it will be time for every household in Boyle County to fill out a 2020 Census questionnaire. Dozens of community members are already working together through Boyle’s Complete Count Committee to ensure we get as accurate and thorough a count of local residents as possible.

The Census was enshrined in the Constitution when the United States was founded; a count of all the people living in the country has been conducted every 10 years ever since. It is a foundational piece of our government and integral to many different aspects of our lives.

It is no small task to accurately count every single person in Boyle County, let alone every single person in Kentucky and the nation. But it is important and worth the work.

The Census decides how many representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives; it also provides the population data necessary for redistricting at the state and federal levels.

Beyond that, Census data is how more than $675 billion in federal funds are allocated, including money for public education, health care and roads. And Census data is made available to the public, better informing business plans and making economic development projects more likely to succeed.

We need to avoid under-counting Boyle residents this year in order to protect our local health care providers, ensuring they are eligible for all appropriate funding from the federal government.

We need to avoid under-counting so our schools get the funding they deserve and our children are given the best possible futures as a result.

We need to avoid under-counting because veterans care programs, public transportation, public housing and children’s health insurance all depend on Census data.

But under-counting does happen, and it’s more likely to happen among certain population groups. Those “hard to count” populations include:

  • young children;
  • undocumented immigrants;
  • people who distrust the government;
  • members of the LGBTQ community;
  • minorities;
  • low-income families; and
  • non-English speakers.

There are some labels on that list that have gathered political baggage of one kind or another. But every person is still a person.

We should all want every person from every community counted.

That’s because every person who is counted in Boyle County counts toward strong representation of our interests in our government and a strong return on the investment of our tax dollars.

By some estimates, each person counted can equate to $2,000 in annual funding across all the different programs to which the Census is connected. That means each person counted correctly may represent $20,000 added to Boyle County over the lifetime of the 2020 Census.

Conversely, each person under-counted might represent a loss of $20,000 that should have flowed into Boyle County, but is instead going somewhere else.

That’s why we support the Boyle County Complete Count Committee in its efforts to get as many people to respond to the Census as possible.

 

Advocate-Messenger Editor Ben Kleppinger, a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, is also a member of the Boyle County Complete Count Committee.