Goodyear City Manager Julie Arendall

Goodyear City Manager Julie Arendall is co-chair of the MAG Regional Census Communication Group. 

Like cities around the country, tax-fueled West Valley cities have been spreading the “participate in the census” message for nearly a year.

The more people that are counted in each city, the more tax money that means.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, some picturing a census worker knocking on the door may be thinking, “Not me!”

But, long before anyone heard about the coronavirus, the U.S. Census Bureau was already planning the 2020 Census to be mainly online.

Less than 1% of people are expected to be counted in person. 

According to the Census Bureau, “95% of households will receive their census invitation in the mail.”

This month, the online form will be available to complete through the U.S. Census Bureau. Information about how to respond online is being mailed to households in mid-March. 

“From March 12-20, households will receive the first of several invitations to participate in the 2020 Census.  We are encouraging everyone to respond online as soon as you receive your invitation with the provided instructions to go online,” said Pier Simeri, a city of Avondale spokeswoman.

Added Annie DeChance, a city of Buckeye spokeswoman, “since the survey officially opened today and they are encouraging online participation, the majority of residents will take the survey from their personal devices. 

“Anyone who takes the survey on one of our public computers will know we are following the CDC’s guidelines for routine cleaning and disinfection of the community computers.”

Buckeye’s outreach “will be mainly online – social media, electronic newsletter, NextDoor, etc. We do have banners at various city buildings, schools, places of worship and businesses to remind residents to take the survey.”

Instructions on the mailings will advise residents how to respond to the census online at azcensus2020.gov or by phone.

According to Gov. Doug Ducey, “Census data guides the distribution of more than $650 billion to states annually, resources that support critical programs and infrastructure in Arizona. Each person who is not counted is estimated to represent an $887 loss to Arizona in federal funding allocation. Even a 1% undercount would represent a loss of $62 million per year for a decade — a total loss of at least $620 million.” 

The Maricopa Association of Governments is doing outreach at the site icount2020.info.

“An accurate census count is critical to the region for a variety of reasons,” said Goodyear City Manager Julie Arendall, co-chairwoman of the MAG Regional Census Communication Group. “Information from the Census helps fund 55 federal and state programs, with $675 billion in federal funding at stake. In Arizona, about $20 billion in state shared revenues are divided up based on population—that equates to almost $3,000 per person.”

The census is available in 12 non-English languages, with additional materials and assistance available in 59 languages. 

The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.