Time is running out to be counted in the 2020 Census. The deadline for completing it is Sept. 30.

The census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the US Constitution to take place every 10 years. Census data is used to apportion congressional seats in the House of Representatives to states over the next decade. California is likely to lose one of its 53 Congressional districts for the first time in its history, while other states like Texas, are likely to gain as many as three new seats.

Census data is also used to determine how much of approximately $1.5 trillion in annual federal dollars across 316 programs, including student loans, Medicaid, school lunch programs and highway construction grants, will return to local governments.

For example, in Fiscal Year 2016, California received approximately $115.1 billion through 55 federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 census, according to George Washington Institute of Public Policy.

“Your response matters,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement. “Health clinics, fire departments, schools — even roads and highways — your response to the Census can shape OUR community. We need each member of our community to do their part and be counted. This determines our share of the billions of dollars that are allocated based on the Census data, ensuring we as a City receive our fair share. It is quick, easy, safe and secure. Do your part, be counted.”

The City of Palmdale, in partnership with Palmdale School District and the Los Angeles Office of Education, hosted a 2020 Census Chalkathon Sunday at McAdam Park, where census mobile assistance teams were available to help people complete their census online.

“Filling out your Census is crucial to ensure that our community gets its fair share of funding,” Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer said in a statement. “According to the League of California Cities, ‘for every person left uncounted in California, we could lose $1,000 in federal funding yearly for the next 10 years.’ The stakes and risks of an undercount in the 2020 Census are too high to ignore. The economic, political, and social impacts of an accurate Census count will shape our future.”

Census data is also used to determine federal funding levels for school programs and services such as special education, Head Start, after-school programs, classroom technology and food assistance such as free and reduced-price school lunches.

“Funding based on the Census count greatly helps important programs like food distribution from South Antelope Valley Emergency Services (SAVES), school lunches, parks, libraries, education, highways, healthcare, housing assistance, and more,” Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy said in a statement. “We need to have everyone counted to help us to best serve our community.”

The Greater Antelope Valley is counting on us to participate to make sure that the community receives the funding and resources needed to thrive. “Everyone needs to be counted in the 2020 Census, regardless of age, race or citizenship status, in order to ensure accurate representation,” the District said in a statement. “The Antelope Valley Union High School District is proud to collaborate on this important civic responsibility and encourages everyone to complete the 2020 Census.”

Candace Craven, coordinator of Extended Learning and Community Outreach for Palmdale School District, cited programs such as the District’s lunch program, where anyone with students 18 and younger at home can stop by a school to pick up breakfast and lunch as one example of the importance of the federal funding that is informed by census data.

“Senior outreach programs, getting seniors to medical appointments,” she said. “Some of the transportation that’s funded for seniors, for people who are handicapped, that comes directly as a result of federal funding. They say, ‘Oh, this community needs this much help, and it determines how much money we get.”

As of Sunday, 94.5% of California households have been enumerated — either by their own self-response or by census takers through the nonresponse follow-up process, according to the US Census Bureau.

Everyone counts regardless of immigration status. There are no citizenship questions on the census. The census is private. Under current federal laws, responses are kept confidential and can only be used by the government to produce statistics. It is illegal for any census information to be shared with anyone outside the US Census Bureau.

To fill out your census form visit my2020census.gov or call1-844-330-2020.

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