LANSING, Mich. — Michigan state political and nonprofit leaders launched the largest campaign in state history Wednesday to promote participation in the 2020 census on April 1.
The Be Counted campaign was organized by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, Michigan Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler, state legislators, Michigan Statewide Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh and leaders with the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
Its goal is to ensure that everyone who lives in Michigan is counted to show the state's strength in numbers.
“Each neighborhood and city is built upon the strong foundation of the people who live there. That’s why we are visiting communities around the state to remind everyone to ‘Be Counted'," said Gilchrist in a press release.
The census is conducted every ten years under mandate by the U.S. Constitution. Nationwide, it benefits residents, local governments, businesses and city planners.
Part of the newly-instated campaign launch is to highlight how convenient it is to complete it. People can complete it by mail, in person, and for the first time by phone and online.
The 2020 census form includes nine questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete, according to Singh. But he said those 10 minutes can benefit Michigan for the next 10 years.
"Our goal is to inform every person and organization about what they need to know to make sure that all Michiganders are counted and keep their tax dollars in the Mitten State," he said.
A Michigan Assistant Secretary of State said the last time the census was taken in 2010 only 78% of Michigan's population completed it. In 2020, campaign officials want to achieve 82% of participation.
“The census numbers affect everyone in Michigan, including seniors, students, kids, parents, businesses and communities, so we all need to do all we can to ensure we encourage everybody we know to complete the census,” Wheeler said in a press release.
Michigan Nonprofit Association President and CEO Donna Murray-Brown said there is a lot at risk statewide if people don't complete it.
“Communities are at risk of losing essential revenue for programs and services relied on by all Michigan residents,” Murray-Brown said.
Rep. Jim Stamas, a Republican from Midland, said it is especially important for people who live in rural areas where there has been a significant shift in the demographics to take part.
There are three West Michigan communities that are at risk of being under-counted according to the campaign's press release. Those counties are Kent, Kalamazoo and Ottawa.
Those counties are a part of 10 Michigan counties that represent 1.8 million people.
“An accurate census count is critical as it determines how much funding Michigan communities will receive through 2030 for key services such as public safety, health care, education, roads and infrastructure,” Stamas said, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“An inaccurate count would affect the lives of Michigan families for the next 10 years because there are no recounts," he said in a press release.
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