2020 Census: A complete count matters for Hawai’i

Posted on Feb 26, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Governor Ige and legislators gather at the state Capitol for a 2020 census rally.

Governor Ige and legislators gather at the state Capitol for a 2020 census rally.

It takes only a few minutes, but every completed 2020 census form means more federal dollars for Hawai‘i to fund schools, roads, Medicare and Medicaid, and a long list of other programs for local communities. That’s why it’s so important that every Hawai‘i resident fills out the 2020 Census questionnaire. Starting March 12, look for an invitation in the mail to fill out the census questionnaire online or by phone. The form will be translated into multiple languages, and phone assistance will be available. There is no citizenship question, and answers are kept confidential. If you haven’t responded online or by phone within a couple of weeks, you will be mailed a paper questionnaire. If you haven’t responded by the end of April, census takers will follow up in person from May through July 2020 to make sure you’re counted.

“It’s all of our responsibility to ensure that we reach into every community in Hawai‘i,” emphasized Governor Ige at a State Capitol rally, joined by a host of state and community partners. “The census numbers drive the resources we receive for the next decade. We have to make sure we receive the resources we deserve.” In the past, the state has had lower census participation rates than the rest of the country. In 2010, the national average response rate was 74 percent, but our state’s rate was just 68 percent and neighbor island self-response was even lower at 54 percent. That means almost a third of Hawai‘i’s households received a knock at their doors from census workers in 2010.

The census data is also used to forecast population and economic growth, estimate housing needs, and determine where new schools, roads, health care complexes and other facilities will be needed. “We use census data for many of our studies, such as the number  of people working at minimum wage and the self-sufficiency income needed for the state’s families,” said Dr. Eugene Tian, state economist and chair of the Hawai‘i Government Complete Count Committee.

Powerful "This is Me 2020" census video urges full participation.

Powerful “This is Me 2020” census video urges full participation.

To avoid census scams, know that the Census Bureau will never ask you for your social security number, donations, anything on behalf of a political party or your banking and credit card information. If you suspect fraud, call the Census Bureau at (808) 650-6611 to speak to a local Census Bureau representative. For details, go to census.hawaii.gov. If you want to apply to be a census worker, go to https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html.

Read more in the March Capitol Connection newsletter

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