In these very strange times it is difficult to focus on normal things; the projects that we were working on before all of this, our daily operations, the meetings that were on our calendars. However in the midst of our isolation there is a very important project still happening and one that happens only once every ten years, the United States Census.

Census day was on April 1 but it’s definitely not too late if you haven’t yet completed your household’s 2020 census. Why is the census important? The number of people in our community and region determines district boundaries, our representation at the local, state and national level, and how many federal dollars get funneled to our state and community. The census is also important to local history. Each year, census data informs federal funding for more than 100 programs, including school lunches, highway construction and education.

While the census data is made available within the first year the data is collected, personal information is kept private, by law, and released after 72 years when it is turned over to the National Archives. That information provides important demographic information and ancestral information to historians and genealogists.

The census is especially relevant right now. As federal and state disaster relief funds begin flowing, they will be based on population numbers. Our county will need every dollar it can get to bring disaster relief to the community.

As of April 1, Lake County had received 22.6% self-response results. In contrast, our neighbors to the north have received only 7.7% in Summit County; whereas our southern neighbors in Chaffee County are beating us with 29.9% of the population self-reporting. Let’s do what Lake County does best — let’s come together for the community and beat our neighbors to the south and north in a friendly rivalry to achieve the highest self-reporting rate!

It has never been easier to respond to the 2020 census on your own, whether online, by phone, or by mail — all without having to meet a census-taker. We encourage Leadvillians to self-respond as soon as possible. Go to 2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020 and cross it off your to-do list today. It takes less than 10 minutes to fill out. Take a moment out of your home sheltering time to fill out the census! ~EVERYONE COUNTS 2020~

Brena Smith

Lake County Public Library

Sarah Dallas

City of Leadville

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