It took 2 minutes to complete the census I’ve put off for months

It took me two minutes to fill out the 2020 census. Why have I been putting it off for so long?

For months, letters and postcards from the Census Bureau poured into my mailbox. Each time, I put the piece of paper on my fridge and told myself “I’ll get to it eventually.”

Eventually was today.

I’m privileged enough to have a high-speed internet connection and a functioning computer to fill out the census. If I don’t, a Census Bureau worker will show up at my door and ask me the same questions I can spend two minutes answering online.

That means this worker is spending the unnecessary time speaking with someone who has the capability of answering census questions on his own – instead of reaching out to communities (particularly Black and Latino, according to the Washington Post) that don’t have the means.

The Trump administration pushed the census deadline up to Sept. 30, which means these workers now have less time to track everyone down.

Filling out the census online, if you are able, means those in underprivileged communities have a greater chance of being counted in the 2020 census. A detailed population count dictates how federal resources are appropriated to certain populations.

After a series of questions about my household (I live alone with a dog and three cats), I clicked “submit” and felt like I finally became a Houstonian for the first time (sort of). I didn’t live here during the 2010 census, which pegged Houston as the fourth largest city in the United States (behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago).

As silly as it might sound, if Houston were to pass Chicago as the third largest city in the country, I would be proud that these two minutes contributed.

To fill out the census online, visit the Census Bureau website and use the 12-digit code you received in the mail.


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