Jacksonville History Matters by the Jacksonville Historic Society www.jaxhistory.org
Census Day will be observed nationwide April 1 — no fooling! Did you know the U.S. Census began in 1790? For lovers of historical trivia, you might enjoy this timeline of the U.S. Census. Some of the nuggets include the fact that in 1850 the census recorded the names of all free persons in a household and in 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published the anti-slavery masterpiece “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Twenty years later the 1870 census recorded the name of every person living in a household and on March 30 of that same year, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave the right to vote to all men, regardless of race.
By April 1, every home will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the Census, you tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
Why is this important? The results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, business decisions and more. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for our community. The trickle-down results of the census hit us at the local level when funds are provided by the City of Jacksonville to the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, which in turn provides grants for many nonprofit organizations, including the Jacksonville Historical Society. In fact, the top motivator for participating in a census is funding for public services.
Don’t be fearful of the census! Last January 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau released results of a study on census barriers, attitudes and motivators. The analysis revealed five barriers that might prevent people from participating in the census: concerns about data privacy and confidentiality, fear of repercussions, distrust in all levels of government, feeling that it doesn’t matter if you are counted, and belief that completing the census might not benefit you personally.
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
* Social Security numbers
* Bank or credit card account numbers
* Money or donations
* Anything on behalf of a political party
Additionally, the 2020 Census will not include a question on citizenship.
To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit www.coj.net/2020census.