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Every 10 years, the U.S. Census conducts a count of every person physically residing in the United States as required by the Constitution. The data collected is used to allocate federal funds for needs like healthcare, infrastructure, and education. Data is also used to determine the number of Congressional representatives and to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

Disruptions from the impact of COVID-19 may negatively impact the Census, so it is imperative that everyone does their part to ensure appropriate financial and political resourcing for our community. All Spartan faculty and staff are encouraged to fill out their Census now, and encourage their students to participate as well.

A few important things to note:

• Census data is particularly important for universities because it is used to distribute federal student aid, federal research, campus infrastructure, health and social services, and even aids future professions for our graduates that rely on federal support such as nursing, teaching, social work, and public health.
• All residents are required to participate, but certain populations – including college students – are identified as “hard-to-count” and are often underrepresented. Given this status, it is important for the UNCG community to encourage students to participate by sharing the importance of their response and helping them understand where they should be counted.  
• Even though many of our students are currently residing at home with their parents, the official Census guidance notes that they should respond using the address at which they would have been residing on April 1 under normal circumstances, as that is considered to be the place where they would normally reside throughout the bulk of the year. The location is not linked to who pays the tuition bill, where they are registered to vote, or whether they had moved out of their residence hall or rental unit due to COVID-19.
• UNCG is in the beginning stages of working with Census officials in the Group Quarters Enumerations process which reports data on behalf of individuals living in campus-owned housing. Students living off-campus must self-report but should still use the address where they would have been residing on April 1, whether they are renters or owners.
• Individual data privacy is protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits sharing of personally identifiable data even with law enforcement agencies, and includes a penalty of prison time and a fine of up to $250,000 if violated. The data collected is strictly used for statistical purposes, and individuals retain their anonymity.
• 2020 is the first year that the Census will be available online – including mobile platforms like cell phones – in addition to the traditional methods of responding via mail and phone. 
• Most residents have already received a mailer that included a Census ID number specific to the address. However, the Census ID number is not mandatory; you may still complete the Census response without a mailer or ID number. 

More information is available on the U.S. Census website at:  www.2020census.gov

If you have questions or would like someone to speak to your organization or class about the Census, please contact Nikki Baker, Director of Federal and External Affairs at nikki.baker@uncg.edu or 336-209-1643.

 
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