Gov. Edwards, others urge Louisiana residents to embrace the 2020 Census

Gov. and Mayor on Census Count
Gov. John Bel Edwards joined other elected officials in New Orleans to urge participation in the 2020 Census.
Gov. John Bel Edwards joined other elected officials in New Orleans to urge participation in the 2020 Census. (Source: WVUE)

"We only get a chance once in 10 years to do this right,” Edwards said.

Edwards said billions are at-stake for the state.

"It will determine the allocation and distribution of billions of dollars to the state of Louisiana and communities all across the state. In fact, the most recent count is about $15 billion in the state of Louisiana that in one way or another the allocation and distribution of that funding is Census-driven,” he said.

Starting next month Louisiana households will receive invitations to participate in the Census.

"For the first time ever the primary means of response will be online. However, there will also be a 1-800 number individuals can call, and you will also be able to request a paper questionnaire,” Edwards said.

Because of Hurricane Katrina many New Orleans residents had not returned to the city for the 2010 Census.

"Listen, this is going to be the city of New Orleans really first true Census since 2000,” New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said. “Forty-five percent of the population in New Orleans responded in 2010 which means, let me tell you, we left close to $300 million on the table.”

The population count can help states and local communities get federal dollars for things like highways, transportation and housing.

"It’s also used to determine eligibility, compute formulas for fund allocation, rank projects, set interest rates for a variety of federal programs including Title I grants, Head-Start, and various tax credits,” Edwards said.

And the count will impact how many people represent Louisiana on Capitol Hill.

"This helps determine our congressional representation in Washington D.C.,” Edwards said.

Unfortunately, there are scams so the Census Bureau has taken steps to ensure that the public will be able to identify legitimate Census workers.

"And the only reason they have to come to your door is if you don’t self-respond and you’ll know because they’ll be identified with a badge,” Tracey Scott Williams, of the Census Bureau, said.

And Edwards and others said people should not fear sharing their information as part of the process.

"We have every reason to believe that the information that will be given will be secure, it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be confidential,” Edwards said.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said anyone who is afraid someone is pretending to be a Census worker should call the police who can confirm the person’s identity. He also added that in today’s society a lot of personal information is already known.

"The information about each of us is out there in many formats, some of them governmental, most of them not governmental because when you order from Amazon and you want it delivered at your house, all of that information is there. The Census is simply trying to give our state a realistic number of how many people are here,” Webre said.

The Census data will also be used to redraw districts for Congress and state legislatures.

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