OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The U.S. Census occurs once every ten years. The data collected is used to determine federal funding and the number of seats a state will have in the House of Representatives. David Drozd, a research coordinator for the Center of Public Affairs Research at UNO, says the census is about two things, money and power.
"For the general citizen we want them to realize that there are a lot of federal funding formulas that would come back to the states and that uses the population information," Drozd said.
Drozd said Nebraska receives about $2,100 per year for federal programs, so not submitting the census would lead the state to forfeit thousands of dollars in funding that goes towards things such as education. Everyone who lived in your household on April 1, 2020 should be counted in your response.
"The rule of thumb is that everyone is counted. So it doesn’t matter if you weren’t born in the United States or if you’re a baby a couple weeks old, older person, every person is counted," Drozd said.
There are multiple ways you can submit the census. It's available online, and by phone. Most people also received mailers in the past few months that can be filled out.
Because of the pandemic, the deadline was extended to September 30. President Trump attempted to stop in-person census counting early. Litigation is ongoing but Drozd said the September 30 date will likely hold.
Right now over 97 percent of Nebraska has already returned the census. The state is often in the top five states of self response.
Drozd said it's important to fill it out to ensure funding and representation.
"We encourage everyone to fill out the census because it’s safe, easy and important. It’s only about 10 questions that take about 10 minutes of your time," Drozd said.