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The town is providing a little more clarity on how they will be involved in helping residents navigate the upcoming 2020 decennial census, announcing a partnership with a group of community leaders who promote participation and coordinate education and outreach with municipalities.
That group, a local complete count committee (CCC), operates in the New Haven and Middlesex county areas. A representative from that CCC, Michael Burke, spoke to members of the Board of Selectmen and residents earlier this month, laying out both the proper procedures for filling out a census as well as detailing the importance of doing so. First Selectman Peggy Lyons said Burke would be presenting again at schools and the Senior Center in the near future.
Other outreach efforts potentially would include social media efforts by the town or other digital outreach.
Town Clerk Nancy Marticci said residents should expect to receive forms for the census in the mail beginning next month, with workers likely to begin knocking on doors in June.
The United States Constitution requires a nationwide census every 10 years, making a complete count of the country’s population, and uses data obtained in that process for numerous purposes.
Though the census is run entirely by a federal agency—the United States Census Bureau—municipal and state governments have a strong motivation to make sure their residents respond to the survey, and many form committees or coordinate at the local level, according to Burke.
Approximately $675 billion worth of federal funding is allocated based on census data, Burke said. Census data is also used by businesses to determine where they might open new locations, according to Burke, making it particularly important for small towns that might be seeking that kind of economic development.
The census also determines representation in Congress for states.
This is the first time that the census can be filled out online, Burke said, but can still be provided by mail, phone, or all else failing, in person.
Lyons told The Source she is likely to reach out more actively to various organizations, including churches and potentially the senior center or library, when the census mailers begin arriving. Martucci said she is working with Burke to put up flyers and posters at various public locations around town.
Burke said many people worry not only about how to correctly respond to a census, but also how safe and secure their information is when mailing a letter, speaking to a stranger, or filling out an online form. He emphasized there were severe criminal penalties for anyone who mishandled or inappropriately shared census data.
Martucci said the Town Clerk’s Office will eventually have a complete list of census workers going door-to-door in Madison, so if residents have any concerns about someone’s identity, they can call the clerk’s office to ensure the person was in fact a census worker.
The U.S. Census Bureau is still hiring census workers for temporary positions, Burke said, and actively seek out people who are connected to the communities they are working in. Pay for these positions is between $20 and $25 an hour.
For more information the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov.
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