Whitmer declares April 1 ‘Take a Break and Be Counted’ Day ahead of 2020 census

Gretchen Whitmer
Posted at 7:06 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 07:08:24-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared Wednesday, April 1, “Take a Break and Be Counted” Day in Michigan to encourage residents to complete the 2020 Census and support the state’s “Be Counted” campaign’s goal of 82 percent participation statewide.

In addition to the statewide declaration, Gov. Whitmer released this video urging “all Michiganders to stop what they are doing on Wednesday, April 1, and take a quick 10 minutes out of their day to complete the 2020 Census form and support Michigan’s ’Be Counted’ campaign.”

The governor's call for Michiganders to complete their census form on April 1 coincides with National Census Day. The appeal also comes as millions of Michiganders are staying home to comply with her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order to help slow the spread of the continuing novel coronavirus).

“The outbreak of COVID-19 reinforces the critical importance of completing the 2020 Census to support our public health and disease prevention programs,” Whitmer said. “Federal tax dollars are allocated based on the census count that support Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP and health care centers. It also determines how much federal funding is allotted to Michigan for our schools, infrastructure and public safety. Our job is to make sure Michigan has an accurate and complete count.”

Michiganders can fill out their form by regular mail, phone and – for the first time – online here.

“The 2020 Census form includes nine questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete – but those 10 minutes will benefit Michigan for the next 10 years,” said Michigan 2020 Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh.

The questions asked include: name, age, gender, ethnicity, race, number of people in the household, anyone else staying in the house on April 1, 2020, if you own or rent your home and phone number.

The Michigan Legislature in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote has allocated an unprecedented $16 million to help with outreach and preparation to ensure everyone living in Michigan participates in the 2020 census, according to Whitmer's office.

The “Be Counted” campaign is a collaboration among the State of Michigan, U.S. Census Bureau and the Michigan Nonprofit Association. With the support of the Council of Michigan Foundations, additional funding for the MNA effort comes from more than 40 foundations throughout Michigan.

In 2010, 78 percent of the state’s population completed the census. “Be Counted” campaign officials want Michigan to achieve 82% participation in 2020, which would rival the nation’s top performance in the 2010 census by Wisconsin.

The census determines how $675 billion in federal dollars is distributed nationwide each year for the next 10 years through 2030.

Under current figures, for every person counted, Michigan communities will receive an estimated $3,000 of federal funds per person, per year for the next 10 years. According to the most recent data available, Michigan received in 2016 nearly $30 billion in federal funding, including $1.1 billion for highway planning and construction, $16 billion for health programs, $5 billion for education, $2.3 billion for food assistance programs and $1.5 billion for housing assistance.