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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Everyone Still Counts in the Census

Despite the statewide COVID-19 shutdown, the 2020 Census is still underway. The deadline to respond has been moved to August 14. It’s very important that every member of each household in Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties is counted. Why? Funding for schools and other critical community programs is based on the count. So is federal and state legislative representation.
 
The federal government emphasizes that those filling out the form should count everyone living at their address. It’s worth noting here that the law requires that the US Census Bureau must keep private all collected data; landlords and other government agencies are not allowed to see it. Any Census employee who breaks this law faces serious penalties: a fine of up to $250,000, five years in prison, or both.

So, here’s what to consider to make sure everyone at an address is counted:

• Count all children, including babies born on or before April 1, 2020. If they are living at the address on April 1, 2020, count all nieces, nephews, grandchildren, foster children, and people who are not relatives, such as friends and their children.

• Count people even if they are not US citizens. A person’s immigration status doesn’t matter on the Census, and the Census won’t ask if people are US citizens.

• Count all people living at the address, even if they are not on the lease or rental agreement.

To respond to the Census, parents and caregivers can go online or communicate by phone in English, Spanish, or 11 other languages. Census forms can even be filled out on smartphones. For those who don’t speak English, video and printed guides are available in 59 different languages at 2020census.gov. For more information, go to californiacensus.org.