Haven’t responded to the U.S. Census yet?


You still have time, but it’s running out. The Census Bureau has set the end of this month as the deadline for data collection, accelerating an earlier timeline and putting the onus on every one of us to make sure our families, friends and neighbors stand up to be counted.


The facts are the facts here, and they’re compelling. As the Kansas Counts turnout initiative states: "If 1% of the Kansas population is uncounted in the 2020 Census, the state of Kansas could miss receiving approximately $603,990,400 in federal funding over a 10-year period." That breaks down to more than $2,000 for each and every Kansan.


The Census Bureau tracks response rates. As of last week, 69.2% of Kansans had responded themselves. Another 28.6% had been counted through follow-up visits. That means that roughly 97.8% of the state population is enumerated.


Sounds great, right? Well, there are two big problems with that data point.


The first is that the Census Bureau is simply estimating how many folks live in the state. If their estimates are incorrect, they could be overlooking or undercounting Kansans who depend on the government services allocated through Census counts.


Secondly, as noted above, even a 1% undercount translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost federal support. We pay taxes to the federal government, and we should be able to receive our fair share as municipalities, counties and the state.


Again, we turn to Kansas Counts for the definitive word: "Cities and counties rely on census statistics to plan for a variety of resident needs including new roads, schools and emergency services. Each year, the federal government distributes more than $6 billion to Kansas communities based on Census Bureau data."


Responding is easy enough to do. You can either visit kansascounts.org to learn more and be directed to the right places, or you can go to census.gov to respond and learn about the issues from a national perspective.


Whatever the case, the time is now. You and everyone you know should make sure that you’re counted. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or adult, citizen or not a citizen. It doesn’t matter what your gender, race or ethnicity is.


It matters that you’re here, right now. You count. Be counted.