US census

The Census Bureau pushed the deadline for collecting census data from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31. (Photo/

There’s a new deadline for Athenians to ensure they’re counted in the 2020 census. On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Sept. 30 will be the last day of counting efforts, which is a month earlier than originally anticipated.

As of Wednesday, 43.2% of Athens-Clarke County has not been counted, according to the county’s Complete Count Committee, which encourages and helps residents complete the census.

Why it’s important to complete the census

Participating in the census helps allocate federal funding to the county and to the community. Schools, hospitals, roads and public works are all considered in this funding during every census recount, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Businesses also use census data to decide whether to build factories, stores and offices to bring jobs to a community.

For each additional Athenian who responds to the 2020 census, the county “stands to receive approximately $32,000 more in federal funding over the next ten years” to support schools, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure, according to a news release from the Complete Count Committee. The committee’s co-chairs were selected by Mayor Kelly Girtz.

Local organizations like health clinics and after-school tutoring programs also use census data to secure financial support from the government.

Census data helps legislators draw state and congressional districts for future elections. Each state is given a number of U.S. House of Representatives seats proportional to its population, so an accurate census count is essential.

How to be counted in the census

Athens residents can complete the census online. The Complete Count Committee is also hosting socially-distanced events on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings at outdoor locations.

Face masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing markers will also be provided at the events.

Filling out the census only takes a few minutes, and each response is protected and confidential, according to the U.S. Census website. The Census Bureau is required by law to only use this information for statistical purposes. Responses cannot be shared with the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Census workers will begin door-to-door outreach and counting efforts to households that have not yet completed the survey in mid-August, according to the release.

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