JENNINGS — The U.S. Census Bureau will begin hiring census takers in January, a Census employee told the Jennings City Council this week.
Kelly Courville, a partnership specialist, said census takers are needed to go doorto-door to count people who do not respond to the census.
“If you don’t respond, census takers will come out and knock on your door,” she said. “Hopefully, self-response will work and everybody will respond on their own and we won’t need a lot of census takers.”
People can apply online atthrough January. Applicants must be at least 18.
Residents will be notified of the 2020 census by mail by April 1.
For the first time, people will be able to complete their census forms online using their laptop, smart phone or iPad, she said. People can also respond to the census by phone or by mail.
The objective of the census is to get an accurate count for every community in the United States, she said.
“This gives us a better snapshot of who lives where and what kind of services are most needed in different communities,” she said.
In speaking to the city council, Courville said, “It’s really important to the city of Jennings that everybody in the city gets counted, so my job is to work with you all to get the word out to the citizens who live here so they know why it is important.
“It’s important because the dollars that the federal government sends back to Jennings and to Louisiana are based on those census numbers,” she said. “We want everyone to be counted so that you all have the dollars that you need to provide the services that the citizens deserve — WIC monies, Headstart program funding, funding for some of the senior citizen programs, money to fix the roads in this area. All those dollars that come from the federal government are based on how many people live here.
“It is important that everyone be counted for Jennings and Jeff Davis Parish to receive its fair share of $675 billion in federal dollars available to cities, states and parishes nationwide, she said.
“Everybody who goes to get a grant for something in this area, they are going to have to pull those census numbers to justify getting the dollars they want for the programs they want,” she said. “Whether it’s a community organization or a school, they are going to pull the census numbers from the census count in 2020 and the federal government will say, ‘OK based on the people they see live here because they responded to the census, we’ll give you this many dollars.’ ”
Census data is also used to determine the number of congressional representatives for each state.
Courville also asked the city council to form a Complete Count Committee to help educate residents and spread the word about the importance of the once-a-decade count.
“We want to make sure you get the count that you need so that you get the funds back that you need to take care of the people that live here,” she said.
Since the census is only taken every 10 years, the 2020 population count will remain in effect until 2030.