LOOKING FOR INFORMATION
You can then fill out the census online, on the phone or by paper.
What is the census?
The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and happens once every 10 years. It serves as a count of everyone living in the United States. The 2020 census will take place from March 12th through July 2020. In 2020, participation in the census will be more convenient than ever. For most of New Mexico’s residents, the census can be completed online, over the phone, or on paper — all in the privacy of your own home.
Why is it important?
From Gallup to Carlsbad, Las Cruces to Raton, and everywhere in between, the census impacts all communities across New Mexico. The census determines how more than $800 billion in federal funds are distributed to communities across the U.S. including over $7.8 billion right here in New Mexico. The census helps determine the distribution of funds for things like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), education grants, transportation projects, and nutrition programs for school children. Census data is also used to determine representation in government. Census data helps determine the distribution of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and district lines at all levels of government.
Why does the 2020 census matter to New Mexico?
When it comes to the census, a little goes a long way — just a 1% undercount in New Mexico means a loss of $780 million dollars over the next ten years1.
New Mexico receives $8,692 per resident in federal funding. This goes to essential programs. For example, our state benefits from federal dollars for SNAP more than any other state 2.
Programs impacted by the census touch everyone. For example:
1. Medicaid — $4.3 billion
2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — over $693 million
3. Highway Planning and Construction — nearly $400 million
4. Federal Student Loans — $280 million
5. Medicare Part B — $265 million
6. Special Education Grants — nearly $200 million
7. Pell Grants — $171 million
8. Title I Grants to LEAs — $127 million
9. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — $123 million
10. State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — $122.5 million
11. National School Lunch Program — $101 million
12. Head Start — $83 million
Is Information confidential?
All information collected during the census is protected by federal law. There are strong protections and safeguards against disclosure and misuse of census data.
Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code:
– Census data can only be used for statistical purposes. Personal information cannot be used against respondents in court or by a government agency.
– Personal census information cannot be disclosed for 72 years (this includes names, addresses, and telephone numbers).
– Census Bureau staff who have access to personal information are sworn for life to protect confidentiality and are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up to five years in federal prison for wrongful disclosure of information.
The census is designed for you to participate in the privacy of your own home. Fill out your census form right away, send it in (online, via mail, or over the phone) and there won’t be a reason for anyone to knock on your door to follow-up. What about “citizenship”? There is no citizenship question on the 2020 census. Organizations fought and won in the US Supreme Court to ensure this. These organizations will continue to challenge any other illegal attempts to obtain or misuse confidential information. All individuals residing in the U.S. need to fill out the census, regardless of citizenship status. The census is simply a headcount of people living in the U.S.
Endnotes: 1. https://www.icountnm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/IPP-1819-3-CountingforDollars_NM.p df 2.https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2019/03/20/how-much-federal-funding-e ach-state-receives-government/39202299/