DETROIT – How would you like more money for education, health care and better roads in Michigan? That can become a reality, but only if everyone takes the time to fill out their census.
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, the census was quickly forgotten. But it remains one of the most important forms residents will fill out this year because if everyone doesn’t get counted, the state could lose millions of dollars in federal government funding and lose seats in Congress.
If you haven’t already filled out your census form, now is the time. The deadline is Sept. 30, and you can fill it out online, over the phone or by mail. It’s never been easier to get counted.
“I have a family of five,” Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “It took me less than 10 minutes to complete my census. It’s 10 minutes of your life that will impact our community for the next 10 years. It’s so critical.”
Gilchrist is a Detroit resident, and the city is way behind in its count. Only 49% of Detroit households have responded, and Gilchrist wants people to know it’s safe to fill out the census.
“I think that can be one of the biggest barriers (to) people filling out -- because they don’t trust it,” Gilchrist said.
The census doesn’t ask any questions about citizenship, and if you’re not a citizen, you should still fill out the census because it counts everyone living in the United States. Those numbers determine how much money the state receives from the federal government.
The census doesn’t share your information with law enforcement. That’s illegal. The more people who get counted, the more money the state gets for key programs in the community.
“We’re talking billions of dollars when it comes to things like affordable housing, when it comes to child care access and opportunity educational systems,” Gilchrist said.
If you’ve filled out the census, contact your friends and family members and encourage them to do the same.
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“You can call them,” Gilchrist said. “You can text them. You can set up your own Zoom, call them, do a census party -- whatever you need to do to make sure that everybody is really claiming their power and claiming the resource that belongs to them.”
Gilchrist said if you need one more reason to fill out the census, do it for his birthday.
“I would love for everybody in the city (of Detroit), in the state of Michigan to do me a favor and for my birthday, which is Sept. 25, have their census completed by Sept. 25,” Gilchrist said. “That way, you will not miss any deadlines.”
If you haven’t been counted, you can do so right now. It only takes a few minutes, and it will affect Michiganders for the next decade.