It's 2020. Like all years ending in 0, it's a big year. 

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires a count of the people living in the country. This number is used to determine how many representatives each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. This helps ensure states are represented appropriately at the federal level as people move. This can change how many representatives a state has, as the number of representatives stays set at 435 seats.

At the state and local level, the Census helps leaders redraw our maps for Congressional districts, state House and Senate districts, and our local civil districts, ensuring more or less equal representation for the residents in each district.

The apportionment and districting processes are a key component of the "one person, one vote" ideal, which says that when it comes to the voting booth, every person is just as important as everyone else. 

The Census also helps growing communities access more federal and state funding. Much of these funds are divvied out based on population. The federal government distributed $675 billion to local communities for health, education, housing and infrastructure needs in 2015. 

The Census also helps local communities plan ahead. Are we seeing a spike in our population? What will that mean for our local services? It can help the community begin planning for increased law enforcement, education and health care services.

Cumberland County wants to ensure every person is counted in the upcoming Census. County Mayor Allen Foster has formed a Complete Count Committee that will be working to get the word out over the next few months on how you can stand up and be counted.

Every home should receive their 2020 Census invitation by April. Once you have yours, you can answer the questions online, by phone or by mail. 

The Census will ask how many people are living or staying in the home on April 1, the age, sex and race of each person, the relationship of each person and if the home is rented or owned.

The Census does not ask for your Social Security number, bank or credit card account numbers, or for any payment or donation. It also does not ask anything on behalf of a political party. 

By law, your answers to the Census are anonymous and must be kept confidential. Answers cannot be used against you by other agencies or courts. Your private information remains private. 

The Census is also hiring enumerators and other positions. These part-time jobs help ensure every resident is part of the final tally. These temporary positions offer flexible hours and competitive wages. 

Learn more at 2020census.gov and keep an eye out for your Census 2020 invitation.

—Crossville Chronicle

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