Kentuckians have a few more weeks to secure the resources they will rely on for the next decade by completing their 2020 U.S. Census form.
In early September, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop attempting to cut short census operations, after the Census Bureau announced it will continue collecting data until Oct. 31.
The order remains in effect until a court hearing this week.
Kentucky's current self-response rate is 67.5%, slightly above the national average. About a third of households have completed the survey online.
Mandy Simpson, director of public policy at Metro United Way, said census workers are now knocking on doors across the Commonwealth.
"If someone does come to your home, you can trust them," Simpson said. "They're hired from our local Kentucky communities, and they — in about 10 minutes — can help you complete your survey and make sure every person in your household is counted."
Simpson added it's especially critical to make sure infants and young children are counted, since they are consistently underrepresented. The census form can be completed online at 2020census.gov, or by phone or mail.
Simpson pointed out that transportation, roads, hospitals, and childcare and healthcare services across the Commonwealth receive funding based on census data.
"This data determines things like how quickly an ambulance can get to your home; it decides where emergency services go. It's how business decide where their warehouse and their headquarters, and their storefronts are going to go, so it means jobs for our communities," she said.
Associate Executive Director of the Pikeville-based group Shaping Our Appalachian Region Joshua Ball said several counties in Eastern Kentucky still have self-response rates below 50%. He added Kentucky receives around $24 billion per year in allocations based on the national household survey.
"Our elected officials at the federal level, they look at those numbers in deciding billions and trillions of dollars in federal funding," Ball said. "And if all we can do as Kentuckians is spend a few minutes to be counted, we really can't afford not to do it."
He noted Kentucky stands to lose more than $2,000 per year for the next 10 years for each resident that goes uncounted in the 2020 Census.