Detroit 2020 Census begins one year from April 1 and a lot is at stake

Posted at 7:25 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 21:47:37-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — April 1, 2020 starts the official census count. It'll go until mid-July, but do people really know the importance of the numbers?

"I don't even understand what the census is about," said Detroiter Sommer Ellis.

And Ellis is not the only one unsure about the U.S. Census. It may have been that same uncertainty that had thousands of Detroiters not responding to the last census in 2010.

"The lowest response rate of any major city in America was in Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan.

On Monday, Duggan and others teamed up to help kick off a year campaign to encourage people to fill out the census because for every person not counted means Detroit will lose $1,800 a year for 10 years.

"It's not just about money, it is also about political power," said U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Duggan adding, "We're going to start early because of what's at stake. Head start funding to give our children an early advantage at school. That funding is allocated based on the census count."

There are federal census jobs available now and the city of Detroit will soon be hiring Detroiters to help with the 2020 Census. City officials want people to understand the information will not be shared with any other agency – not law enforcement and not immigration.

"When somebody from the government shows up and knocks on your doors and starts asking questions, people of color tend to be more suspicious," Duggan said. "And as a result, we have seen, time after time, the communities that need it most end up getting the least."

To find out more about Census jobs and volunteer opportunities, click here.