As we celebrate Independence Day, Murfreesboro residents are reminded to "Be Counted" and fill out your damn census.
The 2020 Census is a civic duty vital to the community's financial health and well-being, not to mention it's mandated in the Constitution.
"We want residents to understand the importance of civic responsibility in completing the Census and the benefits to the community in which we live, work, and play," said Mayor Shane McFarland. "The 2020 Census is easy, safe and useful. The information shared remains confidential and the funding tied to our count is critical for providing the necessary level of services."
Completing your Federal Census is important because it sets the amount of state and federal funds dispersed to the city and county. This is even more important this year when the coronavirus shuttered businesses and displaced workers.
As of June 14, 2020, Murfreesboro's self-response rate was only 61 percent, and residents are reminded that the census—for the first time ever—can be quickly completed online in minutes. Those who fail to respond online, by phone or mail by the end of July will be visited in-person by federal Census takers between Aug. 11 and Oct 31.
The goal of the census is to count of everyone living in the country, with the results helping to determine how an estimated $675 billion in federal funding flows into states and communities each year, as well as how seats in Congress are distributed among the 50 states.
This year's decennial U.S. census means tens of millions of dollars could be gained for public services such as schools, roads and health clinics for the next decade — if an accurate count is captured of the thousands of new residents that have moved into the community since 2010.
And don't worry, this is not an attempt by the government to track your location. Facebook already does that for them.
As an aside, I used to do historic research for an archaeology firm. The Census is an invaluable resource for future historians. If you don't care about where your tax dollars go, then fill it out for the sake of history.
You've had since March to complete it and I know many of you have been at home with no good excuse for not completing the simple form.
Residents wanting to complete the census questionnaire online but can't locate their Census ID can go www.my2020census.gov and follow instructions. Households can also respond by phone or by mail if they receive a paper questionnaire. Watch "Have You Been Counted?," a CityTV PSA at https://youtu.be/fwty70J9FLk.
The census also provides vital data for local governments, organizations and businesses to better evaluate the services and programs needed. A special census conducted by the city of Murfreesboro in 2018 resulted in a population count of 128,225 — an increase of 19,000-plus residents from the 2010 Census count of just more 109,000.
Rutherford County could receive an estimated $1,100 annually in federal funds for each person counted, meaning a 2020 count showing a 20,000-person population increase would equate to an extra $22 million in federal funds each year.
"In these uncertain times, this federal funding will be critical to help our county and municipalities deal with ongoing issues such as traffic and infrastructure. But we need everyone's help in making sure this city and county gets our fair share," added McFarland.
For information about the 2020 Census, go to www.2020census.gov.