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CHAMBER COLUMN: Let’s make Coles County count by taking the 2020 Census
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CHAMBER COLUMN: Let’s make Coles County count by taking the 2020 Census

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Can you believe February is almost over? While many of us are thinking spring, the Charleston Chamber and the Charleston Complete Count Committee are thinking... The 2020 Census. The census is vital to our community for many reasons and it is imperative all members of our community take the census.

Census data is used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funding. The more people who take the census, the more funding our community will receive. For every person who does not take the census, our community stands to lose, on average, $160 per person, per year. The census is only taken once every ten years. So, over the course of 10 years, we could lose $1,600 per person who does not fill out the census.

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That money goes towards important community initiatives, such as funding for schools, community programming, public works, hospitals, and so much more! Businesses also use the census data to decide where to build new factories, storefronts, and restaurants. This, in turn, creates more jobs for our community. The results of the census data are also used to determine the number of seats Illinois has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This year the census will be available to take via the mailed-out form, on the phone, and, for the first time, online. With so much on the line with the census, it is so important that all members of our community take the census. The census will officially take place on April 1, 2020 but you will be able to take the census sooner. Between March 12-20, you should receive the census by mail and can take it as soon as you get it. Starting in March, you will also be able to take the census by phone and online.

Taking the census is quick and simple and will only take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Your information is 100% protected; it is against the law for the U.S. Census Bureau to release your responses in any way that can identify you or your household. You will only be asked simple questions such as your name, age, sex, and number of people in your household, including children. For more information and to see a sample of the census, visit www.colescounty2020.com. Let’s all do our civic duty and take the 2020 Census!

Jessica Meadows is president and CEO for the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce.

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