Looking for a quick and easy way to make a difference and change the future of the community you live in? It may come in an unexpected, but familiar way. You’ve probably heard plenty of reminders to complete the census by now, and maybe you’re wondering why it’s so important. The 2020 Census helps inform how billions of dollars are distributed every year, and America’s founders included it in our constitution to ensure a government that represents the people. Based on our census results, these billions of dollars are distributed to healthcare, education, housing, public safety, transportation, and essentially everything you can think of that makes an impact on your daily life. To give you a better idea, each person in our state represents nearly $2,000 in federal funds available to Arizona each year. Your response may be simple, but its impact is anything but.
Marana citizens have come to expect an exceptional level of service within its parks, recreational programs, roads, public safety, and much more. These essential services that you rely on rely on our census results. It paints a picture that leads to better decision-making from businesses, researchers, and policymakers, and more accurate government representation and equitable distribution of public funds. The data could show, for example, that our community needs more funding for school lunches or more services for single-parent families.
Getting a complete and accurate census count is critically important. That’s why your response is required by law. If you do not respond, the U.S. Census Bureau will follow-up in person to collect the information. I believe that Marana can work together to “Block the Knock” this year, and fill out the census before a house visit is necessary.
And just as you are required by law to complete the census, the Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.
The answers you provide are not only protected by law and remain confidential, they may not be used by law enforcement or for eligibility for government benefits. The U.S. Census Bureau also ensures your data is safe from cybersecurity threats by encrypting the data and storing it offline. You can learn more about the Bureau’s data protection and privacy program at census.gov/privacy. And this year, it’s easier and safer than ever to fill out your census form. For the first time ever, you can respond by phone or online, as well as by mail. Head to census.gov to learn more and start the process.
Marana’s population is growing rapidly, and this year’s census will give us a snapshot of just how much we’ve grown and changed in demographics like age, race, and sex. In 2019, Marana’s population was 49,030, and we are expected to pass the 50,000 mark this year. That would mean more money distributed to Marana, which would go directly into delivering critical services to you, the residents. For example, Marana receives Shared Revenues based on the Vehicle License Tax, Highway User Revenue Fund, State Shared Sales Tax and the Urban Revenue Sharing Income Tax. Essentially, the more people that answer, the more shared revenue Marana receives.
Visit MaranaAZ.gov/census for the current self-response rate. Currently, Marana has a 66% response rate, and is ranked #13 within Arizona cities. Our neighbors, Oro Valley and Sahuarita, have a 74.7% and 72.4% response rate, respectively, and hold the #1 and #2 rankings for cities within Arizona. Let’s get Marana caught up to 100%, and ensure a better future for our residents over the next decade! Remember, the census only takes a few minutes, but its impact will be felt for the next decade.
Lisa Shafer is Marana’s Community & Neighborhood Services director.