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Community Notes: Census is important to the city as well as the country

By Dean Andrews, Mayor of Charles City

I would like to use this week’s Community Notes to provide you all with information on the upcoming U.S. Census.

The census is conducted once every 10 years to obtain a count of residents in certain jurisdictions. The results of this count are extremely important as they affect many aspects in the next 10 years.

The first thing census counts reflect is political representation in many ways. They determine how many representatives Iowa has to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as how those districts are divided. Census numbers also help determine the boundaries for state Senate and House of Representative districts.

Community Notes: Census is important to the city as well as the country
Mayor Dean Andrews

Over the next 10 years, more than $800 million will be spent on various projects by the federal government. The distribution of these dollars is often based on population numbers, whether that be statewide or locally.

The state road use taxes we acquire locally for street expenses are also determined on a per capita basis. So you can see, the missed count of even 10 people can account for several thousands of dollars over the next 10 years.

You will be receiving a correspondence in the mail sometime after March 16 from the Census Bureau. This correspondence will give you options to respond to the census online, by phone or by paper ballot.

If you do not respond, you will receive up to two additional reminders by mail.

For those who have still not responded by early April, a letter with a paper ballot will be sent, followed by an additional reminder the end of April.

Finally, for those who have still failed to respond, door-to-door enumerators will contact your residence directly to get a response between May and July.

The Census Bureau for the first time this year is providing for an online response. The Census Bureau is providing several security measures to protect everyone’s privacy. They will also not share individual’s data with other entities.

For those who don’t have internet access, we will be providing a secure computer access at the Charles City Public Library to fill out your ballot.

The Census Bureau does not care if you provide your information online, by phone or by paper ballot. They are just offering these three options and each person can decide with which option they are most comfortable.

The census involves only 10 questions. It does not ask for your social security number or your immigration status. It just wants to know how many people live at your residence on April 1, 2020. The questionnaire with ask for each resident’s sex, birth date and racial identity. The form will also have contacts to access if you have questions.

The total count is very important to Charles City. Please respond to this survey when you are contacted. Each resident is important for several reasons, as we will use these numbers for the next 10 years.

Any questions can be directed to my mayor’s phone number at 641-257-6311 or my email at