By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The city began its push to provide education information and job application details to residents on the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census during a kickoff Nov. 20 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
Every 10 years the population in the United States is counted as mandated by the U.S. Constitution with data collected to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and also to distribute billions in federal funding to local communities, the Census website read.
Dearborn is estimated to generate $1,800 in federal funding for evert resident counted, the city’s press release said. Funds allocated could potentially be used for enhancement of public safety services, street and infrastructure improvements, health care, education, redevelopment and economic and community initiatives in the city.
“This is about the future, this is about what we’re going to be and what will be available for us to get where we want to go for our children, families, for everyone because it’s about money that goes in but the money goes out through the states and others and then it comes back in terms of what the numbers show,” Mayor John O’Reilly said. “So, the numbers are really a critical issue and we in Michigan have lost opportunities for the last couple of years due to the Census. It’s really something that’s critical because it’s money that we can we have if we have the numbers and the numbers are simply the people in our community.”
Leading up to the 2020 Census, research was conducted in four areas that focus on the major cost drivers, according to the Census website.
Those four ares are: using the Internet to increase self-response; using existing government data sources to answer Census questions and reduce followup workload; automating operations to increase productivity and reduce staff and offices; and using existing maps and address to reflect changes rather than walking every block in every neighborhood in the country.
Starting in mid-March residents in Dearborn and across the country will receive an invitation in the mail to complete the Census online or by phone instead of receiving the document as they did in years past. Each house will be provided with a unique identifier that is used to fill out the Census. People who live in areas without an address will get a paper document that they can mail through their local post office.
There will be 13 different languages, including English, available online and an additional 60 over the phone.
If a response isn’t provided by Census Day, April 1, 2020, then one or two attempts to contact a residence will be made by mail before a person physically visits a house with a paper Census document to fill out.
In 2000, the participation rate in Wayne County was 78 percent which declined in 2010 to 74 percent, according to the Census participation rates map.
U.S. Census Bureau Representative Linda Clark said all information provided by residents will remain confidential and cannot be shared with any other government agency.
Information collected by the Census sent to the U.S. Census where it is put together statically by the end of August, and by Dec. 31 the information is delivered to the president.
“We do not send names to the president,” Clark said. “Your name and your address is not going to the U.S. president or to anyone else for that matter. We are looking at numbers. Remember, Census is the statical arm of the government. We do the stats.”
A brief question-and-answer session was held following speeches where Clark and Wayne County Director of Diversity and Inclusion Zaineb Hussein responded to questions from the audience.
Dearborn Economic and Community Development Department Deputy Director Hassan Sheikh said the city lost approximately $140 million as a result of the last Census.
“The last Census that happened in 2010, they approximate that 8,000 people were not counted and that equates to approximately $140 million that our city did not get,” he said. “Our city lost out on potentially $140 million that could’ve gone toward housing assistance, roads, infrastructure — so many resources that our city could’ve provided to our residents that we did not have.”
Jobs for the Census are field supervisors, recruiting assistants, clerks and office operations supervisor, ranging from $15 to $24.50 an hour.
Applicants must be 18 years old; be a U.S. citizen; have a Social Security number and a valid email address; complete an application and answer assessment questions; be registered with the Selective Service System or have a qualifying exemption, if you are a male born after Dec. 31, 1959; pass a Census-performed criminal background check and a review of criminal records, including fingerprinting; commit to completing training; and be available to work flexible hours, which can include days, evenings, and weekends.
Also, employees must have access to a vehicle and a valid driver’s license, unless public transportation is readily available and to a computer with Internet access and an email account to complete training.
To apply for jobs go to 2020census.gov/jobs and for more information on the Census go to www.census.gov.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])