COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Census day is right around the corner on April 1.
On Tuesday, the planning director for the City of Columbus presented to city council why this census is so essential.
If you’ve ever wondered why Columbus doesn’t have certain businesses like a Costco or a Cheesecake Factory, information from the census is what developers look at when deciding what to bring to town for residents to enjoy.
Money, representation, and data are three reasons why every count matters in the 2020 Census.
“Once this information is collected, we are pretty much dedicated to this data for the next 10 years," said Planning Director Rick Jones. "So, we have to have an accurate count, a good count.”
With April 1 being Census day, Jones and his team are working to make sure hard-to-count populations are reached, including low income populations, children under five, millennials, the homeless, people who don’t trust the government, and more.
“It’s not a documentation process, it’s not trying to get your social security," said Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson."What it is, is a way to determine how many people are in Muscogee County as of April 1. What’s significant about that is that it matters in terms of dollars. We get a lot of federal grant money that is based on per-capita calculations.”
But the census means more than just dollars for the city. It also impacts what businesses come to town.
Jones said developers for companies like Costco and the Cheesecake Factory look at housing, population, and income data from the census.
“If you want a new business to come to town, especially one that wants to locate as part of a national chain that wants to locate in Columbus, they look at that data," Jones said. "And if the data doesn’t support it, they aren’t going to come to Columbus.”
“When you hear some detail about the census, pass it on, share it with your church, share it with your tennis team, share it with anyone you come in contact with," Henderson said.
The 2020 Census only has nine questions and should take roughly 10 minutes to complete.
The Columbus Complete Count Committee has established two sub-committees to help make sure everyone is included in the census: the Hispanic Complete Count Committee and the Faith-based Complete Count Committee.