The 2020 Census not only determines federal funding and the number of representatives for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives, but it also promises a wealth of data small businesses can mine as they chart their course over the coming decade.

That was just part of the message the featured speaker at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon at Mazatzal Hotel & Casino delivered to a large audience of business owners on Jan. 7.

“There’s something in this for you, beyond roads, hospitals, the public services the census provides,” said Havala Schumacher, a partnership specialist for Gila and Pima counties for the 2020 Census.

“The census is also a giant pool of data that can help you grow your business, understand where you live and work, understand your demographics, understand your labor force.”

The census offers information on the customer base of businesses, including income levels, household size, and homeownership, which can further inform business strategies such as pricing and locations.

Census data provides the basis for distributing grants for economic development and helps inform business decisions, such as local business expansion.

Business owners can get started with the Census Business Builder at census.gov/data/data-tools/cbb.html.

Schumacher talked about how an accurate census count is vital for small businesses and the community overall.

Of the more than $675 billion in federal funding distributed to the states annually based on the census count, a significant portion impacts a person’s ability to do something as simple as get to work. For example, more than $38 billion goes to highway planning and construction.

She said, as integral parts of their communities, small business owners should take part and advocate to help determine how much funding their community receives and its representation in government. Arizona could pick up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives based on this year’s census.

“My purpose here is to remind you why the census is important to your community, what is required and why the information we give back to the census is important for you and your business,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said they are in the awareness phase, which follows the education phase that went from March through last month.

Forms are set to be mailed out on March 12. People may also take part online or by telephone.

April 1 is Census Day, with celebrations and events planned across the country. By that date, every home will receive an invitation to take part in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, respond in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When completing the census, include everyone living in your home on April 1.

In May, the Census Bureau will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.

This December, the Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the president and Congress as required by law. By March 31, 2021, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to the states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

There are seven questions on the 2020 Census:

1. How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020?

2. Is the home owned or rented?

3. What is the sex of each person in your home?

4. What is the age of each person in your home?

5. What is the race of each person in your home?

6. Is anyone in your home of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? Federal agencies need this information to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

7. What is the relationship of each person in your home?

The Census Bureau will never ask for: a social security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party or bank or credit card account numbers.

They keep all of your personal information confidential. They use the data only for statistical purposes.

The Census Bureau is hiring part-time workers at $16.50 an hour, plus mileage. “We need a small army of people,” she said.

For information, visit 2020census.gov/jobs. For more information on the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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