Being Counted Matters

Like most things in life these days, the 2020 Census got knocked off its game plan to get everyone in the United States counted. COVID-19 has derailed many plans for the project; however, the 2020 Census team is pushing forward to ensure the best count possible.

This decade marks the first time that we can complete census forms online. Use this website address to do that:  Simply click on the green RESPOND tab in the middle of the home page. It’s quick and easy – just answer a few questions about who is living at your property so that everyone is counted!

Merrillville town government has been promoting the Census since the first of the year in hopes of getting a much better count than we have in past years.  We promoted the Census, placed 1,000 yard signs around town, posted reminders on social media, and hung large banners across Broadway, all to help our residents remember to complete the Census and to remind everyone why it’s so important that we are all counted.  We even challenged some of our neighboring communities to a contest to see which city/town can get the best return rate percentage for the Census count.  So why is Merrillville lagging behind?  As of now, Merrillville is only ahead of the City of Gary, with neighboring Hobart, Crown Point, and Schererville all outpacing us. The total Indiana self-response rate is 66.1% as of June 26th, and the town of Schererville leads our area with a whopping 79.2% self-response rate. Crown Point is #2 with 79.0%, Hobart is #3 at 73.6%, and Merrillville is #4 at 68.0%.  We still have time to get our response rate up, but we have to get moving if we plan to beat our neighbors! 

Census numbers are used to decide the fate of many projects in and for each area.  The numbers also determine how much Federal and State funding will be made available to your city or town, and set the Congressional Districts throughout the state to ensure that residents have fair representation in each one.  Even residential and commercial property developers will use Census data for the next 10 years to help them decide where to build things like hospitals, medical centers, residential neighborhoods, and shopping areas.

At a time when raising social issues has become so rightfully important, perhaps one of the most important things we can do as Americans is to make sure that everyone counts. But to do that, we must all be counted! Please take a few minutes out of your busy day to fill out the U.S. Census form, and help your elderly neighbors and relatives with theirs. Be counted and make a difference!

Rick Bella, Town of Merrillville 

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