On Census Day, university community urged to make sure #ElonCounts

Elon University is encouraging students, faculty and staff to participate in the decennial census this year that will provide data used to guide legislative representation, federal and state funding and important infrastructure and business decisions.

April 1 is Census Day — a key day in the population count undertaken every 10 years in the United States as laid out in the Constitution.

It’s the reference point used for determining where U.S. residents are residing as the country collects data about its population that’s used to determine legislative representation and to guide how state and federal funds are distributed and spent. Census data is the foundation for many important infrastructure and business decisions, and provides the basis for extensive research into changes within the U.S. population.

That’s why Elon University is urging all members of the campus and local community to participate. As part of its efforts to educate the population about the census and promote participation, the university has created a website with valuable information — www.elon.edu/Census2020.

“Census data will affect Elon for years to come,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “That’s why we need everyone in our community to take part.”

The results of this once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. They are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

During the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children. Students in college towns use critical local resources, such as roads, which depend upon federal funding that’s determined by the census.

The data will be used to determine how more than $675 billion is spent to support states, counties and communities. It’s a valuable part of how federal funding is allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

Assistant Vice President for Student Life Eleanor Finger, who is coordinating Elon’s census participation, shows of her #ElonCounts shirt in support of the effort.

The U.S. Census Bureau directs that college students who live away from home should be counted at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if they are at their homes on April 1.

The COVID-19 outbreak has presented some challenges, with many college students including many Elon students returning to their homes. Though they are away from campus, the U.S. Census Bureau has directed that they should still be counted as residents of their campus community. More information is available here.

The university will be counting students who live on campus or in university-owned housing as part of the 2020 Census Group Quarters Enumeration operations, using administrative records to report the count.

Students, faculty and staff who do not live on campus or in university housing will need to respond on behalf of their household.

Students, faculty and staff who who live off campus will be receiving an invitation by mail to complete your survey, and can complete the survey at www.my2020census.gov. The invitation by mail will include a 12-digit Census ID to be used when completing the survey.

Away from Elon and don’t have access to your mail? You can complete the census through the same website and select the option for no 12-digit code. You will then use your local address here to access the questions for your 2020 Census survey.

If you have housemates or apartment mates, identify one person to complete the 2020 Census survey for all of you that live together. If you live alone, follow the same guidelines and complete it for yourself.

“It’s 2020,” President Book said. “Let’s make sure Elon counts.”