Lincoln County residents are just a week away from being officially invited to participate in the 2020 Census.

On or between March 12-20, most Lincoln County residents should receive an invitation in the mail to respond to the 2020 Census online, according to authorities. Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.

County Mayor Bill Newman met with the Lincoln County Community Census Committee Thursday, outlining timelines for the upcoming census and preparing members for questions they might receive as they help get the word out about the importance of being counted.

Lincoln County’s population stood at 33,361 with the completion of the last census in 2010 but estimates in mid-2018 put our county’s population at 34,117. Likewise, the City of Fayetteville’s population stood at 6,827 in 2010. In mid-2018 that figure was estimated to have increased to 7,017.

Still, local officials are hoping that each and every resident of the county is counted in the 2020 Census – “It’s so important that every resident, no matter their age, is counted,” said the mayor, adding that our population will help shape our community’s future.

Response helps determine where $675 billion is distributed each year to communities nationwide for clinics, schools, roads, and more. Census data also gives community leaders vital information for making decisions about development and planning for the future.

Responding also fulfills your civic duty, because it’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution – the United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. Additionally, responses are used to redraw districts across the county as well as legislative districts and determining the number of seats our state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“April 1st is Census Day,” said Jerry Whitehead, Sr., who is a key person in the census effort for Lincoln, Moore, Giles, and Grundy counties, during Thursday’s meeting. “Ask everyone you meet, ‘Are you going to be counted?’”

On March 12, the U.S. Census Bureau’s website opens so that residents can go online and complete the census questionnaire. The invitations to “Be Counted” will include information about how to respond online, but you can also respond by mail or by phone.

An estimated five percent of kids under the age of 5 weren’t counted in the 2010 census. The goal of the census is for everyone to be counted where they live and sleep most of the time, even if the living arrangement is temporary or the parents of the child do not live there. If a child spends equal amounts of time between two homes, count them where they are staying on Census Day, April 1.

Parents should also include babies as they respond to the census, even if they are in the hospital on April 1.

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