By Carolina Scipioni

Every ten years, our country conducts a census to count the number of men, women, and children residing in the United States. The federal government uses information from the census to decide how billions of dollars in federal funding will be allocated to communities during the next ten years for essential services for our families and neighbors.

In March, homes across the country received invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, plans and deadlines have changed slightly, but the census is still underway, and every resident is urged to respond online, over the phone, or by mail.

This count is important for us as residents of Santa Clara County. It is also important to us as Catholics because we, as a Church, use this information from the census to effectively serve those in need in our area.

Here are a few frequently asked questions:

WHY DOES THE CENSUS MATTER? It is crucial that all people are counted to ensure a fair distribution of resources. Population totals from the 2020 Census will determine how billions of dollars are distributed in California in the following areas of our community: Education, Health Care, Children and Family, Housing, and Transportation.

WHO GETS COUNTED? Every adult, child, and baby living in the United States regardless of their age, race, ethnic group or citizenship status is counted. Only ONE census form should be completed for each mailing address, and it should include all people living in the household.

IS IT SAFE? Your information is safe. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. By law, your responses can only be used to produce statistics.

HOW TO FILL IT OUT? Each household will be asked to provide an address, a phone number, race, ethnicity, gender, number of people in the household, your relationship to each other, and whether you own or rent. Questions about immigration status will NOT be asked.

ONLINE: By computer, tablet or smartphone (Forms available in 13 different languages)

BY PHONE: The Census Bureau 844-330-2020 (Help available in 13 different languages)

BY MAIL: Sent to households (Printed forms available in English and Spanish)

We are encouraged to complete the Census on our own by August 11, 2020. After this date, Census representative will visit the homes of those who have not responded.

An accurate count will ensure a fair distribution of resources for our families and neighbors. It is EASY, SAFE, and IMPORTANT. Be Counted!