By Shawn Beard
The questionnaire from the US Census is in the mail. Many have already been received by parish residents. The deadline to respond is April first.
Why do I have to answer the census? It is required by Federal law and is mandated by the US Constitution. The census is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, which states: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States… according to their respective Numbers.” The actual census count shall be made every ten years. The first census was taken in 1790 and the most recent was in 2010.
A report by CBS News on December 31, 2019 said:
“Population data collected from the 2020 census could lead to dramatic changes in how congressional seats and Electoral College votes are apportioned in several states. Ten states, including several in the Northeast and Midwest, are set to lose congressional districts, although seven in the West and South could gain seats, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.
“The results of the census will be used to determine how 435 seats in the House seats are apportioned for the next 10 years. This impacts a state’s political power in Congress and importance in presidential elections, as Electoral College votes are determined by the size of a state’s congressional delegation. The reapportionment is expected in December 2020, resulting in the lengthy process of each state redrawing congressional maps for the 2022 midterm elections.”
Louisiana was not projected to gain or lose a Congressional seat as a result of the 2020 Census.
It is important that each individual living in Red River Parish be counted. On the parish level, police jury and school board districts are drawn based upon population. Each year there are federal funds allocated based upon the population. So it is important that our population be recorded accurately.
The population count determines the shape of our state Senate and House districts, the Public Service Commission, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education districts. These districts, and others are redrawn after each census. The accuracy of the census directly effects every citizen in Red River Parish.
The census figures are important for programs that benefit citizens of the parish. Government assistance funds are allocated based upon population. Roads, recreation, programs that feed people, and programs that benefit us all have a connection back to the population of Red River Parish.
If you have received your form, please fill it out and return it. A postage free envelope was included. Or you may go online and complete the census. If you did not receive a census form, or not filled it out, a census worker will be calling to follow up and help you fill out the census.