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MASSENA — Coming soon to your mailbox — the 2020 U.S. census.

“We’re getting very close to starting the count,” Stacey Albro, partnership coordinator with the New York Regional Office, said during a presentation Wednesday afternoon at the Massena Public Library.

She said invitations should be sent out in mid-March to take the census survey online or over the phone.

A reminder will follow, and that will be followed by another reminder. If a household doesn’t respond, it will receive the paper survey that was used in previous census counts. And, if it doesn’t respond to that, an enumerator will visit the household.

She said the census count will include 330 million people in more than 140 million households across the United States.

Ms. Albro said census officials partner with “trusted voices in the community,” such as libraries, school districts, colleges and universities, and elected officials to ensure they have the best count of individuals residing in that area and to reassure individuals that the information they provide is safe.

She said some people are leery about filling out the survey because of the confidential information it contains. But, she said, the data is used only for statistical purposes. For those who aren’t in the country legally, no information can be shared with any law enforcement agency or court.

Individuals will be counted where they spend most of their time. She said the north country is unique because snowbirds leave for the winter months.

In that case, they’re counted where they have spent the most time during the year. For instance, if they spend eight months in the north country and four months in Florida, they’re counted as part of the north country population.

For those who split their time evenly between two locations, they’re counted by where they are located on April 1, Census Day.

The census has been conducted every 10 years, in years ending in a zero, since 1790. Its goal is to gather a complete count of every resident in the United States. Ms. Albro said that information is important because it’s used to make decisions about education, health care, infrastructure and political representation.

“It determines how we spend more than $675 billion in federal funding on infrastructure, programs and services,” she said.

Key federal programs that rely on the data and allocations derived from the census include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicare Part B, and highway planning and construction.

Apportionment counts will be provided to the president by Dec. 31, and redistribution counts will be delivered to states by March 31, 2021.

Jobs will be available as part of the census, and Ms. Albro said any income derived from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Home Energy Assistance Program and Medicaid is waived. More information is available at https://2020census.gov/jobs.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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