This is a great time to complete the 2020 Census Form online 

This is a great time to complete the 2020 Census Form online 

Are you stuck at home to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus? Then this is a great opportunity to spend ten minutes or less to complete the 2020 Census Form and get counted! Here are some tips to get you through the online experience. 

I just completed mine yesterday. Granted I have a small family of three, but it was surprisingly quick and easy. By law, every household is required to count each individual who lives and sleeps in the home on April 1, regardless of citizenship or relationship. 

Furthermore, every question is supposed to be answered. However, if you are uncomfortable answering a specific question, there is an option to skip a question. 

While some Census questions are more important than others, it is not advised to skip many questions, particularly those related to the census count. For instance, I was uncomfortable with providing my private phone number to the Census Bureau, so I skipped entering that on the first page. The first time I hit the Next button without entering the phone number, those boxes turned red. The second time I hit the Next button, it moved me smoothly on to the People section. 

In the People Section, you complete the same information for each resident in your household. The application calculates your age based on your inputted birth date. The only potential tricky issue I found was to provide the ancestry information along with the race information. However, the most important question to answer is the primary race question. 

If you are unsure of your ancestry, you can hopefully skip that question in the same manner I skipped the telephone number question. Once you complete the People Section for all the residents in the household, you are moved to the Final Section. At this point you can review your answers, or click Submit. I rechecked my answers for the three of us, changed a few items, and was still able to submit in less than 10 minutes. 

Why is providing your census count so important in 2020? For many vital reasons, not the least of which is that local communities and likely someone you know will depend on federal funding based on census counts for the next 10 years. Every day essential services such as daycare, healthcare, emergency services, road and bridge repair, education and workforce training rely on federal funding based on decennial census counts. 

Additionally, our political representation at the federal, state and local levels is determined by decennial census counts. New York State is expected to lose two congressional seats, as it did in the 2010 Census. Less political representation means our voices and needs are heard less. Just as important, municipal and business leaders alike make decisions about future services and investment based on census data. 

To further complicate the situation, distrust of the government among many population sectors, including immigrants, could result in significant undercounts in this decennial census. And of course there is the current Coronavirus health crisis. But if there was ever a silver lining with more people staying and working at home these days, combined with the online or by phone options of completing the 2020 Census Form, there will be a higher than normal self-response rate achieved with the 2020 Decennial Census. 

During the 2010 Census, Tioga County established an outreach goal of keeping its population over 50,000 and exceeding the total response rate of 76 percent (the 2000 Census response rate). Those goals were both exceeded with the resulting population count of 51,125 and a total response rate of 83 percent. For the 2020 Census, the goal is again to keep our population above 50,000 and to exceed the 2010 83 percent response rate. 

So let’s get counted, Tioga County! 

For questions and more information, please contact Elaine Jardine, County Planning Director, at or by phone at (607) 687-8257. 

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