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It’s getting close to that time when everyone in the country is counted. 

On behalf of U.S. Census Bureau Regional Director Marilyn Sanders, of the Chicago Region, John Cook spoke to the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors about the census, asking them to help making certain everyone is counted April 1, 2020.

The presentation was made during their regular meeting of the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors.

The Bureau will be counting everyone in the country April 1, 2020, as per the constitutional obligation to count everyone every 10 years.

“Congress apportions about $675 billion every single year solely based off census data,” Cook said. “That comes in the form of roads, that comes in the form of water, that comes in the form of business planning.”

According to Cook, there is some research that says the number of funds to rural counties like Winnebago and Hancock counties can be as high as $900 billion when including agricultural businesses, farm subsidies and loans and things specifically targeted at rural America.

“A good count is going to set yourself up well with representation and funding for the next decade,” Cook said. “An undercount – people don’t return the forms, we miss people – it’s going to be funding that you’re supposed to have that you’re not going to have. It’s going to handcuff you for the next decade.”

Cook said the question of citizenship will not be on the census form this year for the purposes of this census.

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“There are other tools we use that we ask citizenship questions. We provide that data to the current administration because it’s been requested of us, but for the decennial, that question won’t be on the form,” Cook said.

Name, address and birth date will be some of the personal information gathered on the census form to guard against repeat counts, or people who have filled out and submitted the form twice, according to Cook.

This year, the Bureau will be focusing on making sure they count all children aged 0 to 5, as they missed more than a million children in that age group in the last census, Cook said.

Additionally, Cook said the Bureau is hiring “like crazy,” estimating 25,000 applicants needed for Iowa alone, and they want to hire local people to count locally.

“At the end of the day, your people know Winnebago County more than anyone I can bring in,” Cook said. “We want neighbors to count neighbors.”

Those interested in applying should visit 2020census.gov/jobs.

Cook gave a similar speech to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors and the Britt City Council.

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