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2020 Census Is Coming Soon: Be Counted

Head count helps steer millions of dollars to schools to support vital programs

With the 2020 U.S. Census right around the corner, it’s time for 4J families to be counted, including all the children in their households whether or not they’re attending school.

The once-a-decade census, required by the Constitution, is the United States’ official head count that determines the number of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data also is instrumental in establishing how many federal dollars go to local school districts, including Eugene School District 4J, to help pay for important programs and services that educate and support our students.

Getting a complete and accurate count helps steer millions of dollars a year to the Eugene School District to provide:

  • Nutritious breakfasts and lunches to students at low or no cost
  • Funding to aid student learning at schools located in neighborhoods with more lower-income families
  • Vocational classes that help our students develop the knowledge and hands-on skills for technical careers after high school
  • Financial support to provide specialized learning to students with disabilities

Image of 2020 U.S. Census invitation letterStarting next week, just ahead of Census Day on April 1, families will begin receiving invitations to participate in the head count. The simple questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to fill out. It asks for basic information, including the number and names of individuals living in a household and their gender and race. There is no question about U.S. citizenship.

The 2020 U.S. Census is the first that can be submitted online, although families still have the option of responding by mail and phone.

Census data is kept safe and confidential. The U.S. Census Bureau wants families to know that responses are used only to produce statistics and can’t be used against them—not by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bureau is prohibited under federal law from disclosing or publishing any private information that identifies an individual.

It’s important for all children to be counted, including children who are not yet in school. Many children under the age of 5 were missed in the 2010 U.S. Census, affecting resources and decisions for the next 10 years.

Here are some tips to help get an accurate head count of children:

  • If children split times between two homes, they should be counted at the home where they spend the most time. If they truly spend equal time between households, count them where they stay on April 1.
  • Children who are couch-surfing or staying at a residence without their parents should be counted as a member of that household.
  • Newborns count even if they’re still in the hospital on April 1.

Eugene School District 4J has no direct role in the census. If you have questions, visit 2020census.gov, or call 301-763-4636 or 800-923-8282.

Learn more: 
What is the 2020 U.S. Census? / Qué es el Censo del 2020?
Census 101: What You Need to Know / El Censo del 2020: Lo Que Debe Saber
Counting Children Fact Sheet / Hoja Informativa: Contar a los Niños
The 2020 Census and Confidentiality / El Censo del 2020 y la Confidencialidad
Oregon Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Census in Distribution of Federal Funds

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