Have you filled out your 2020 census?

Census counting has begun, and the city of Galt has gotten a thumbs up for its residents’ initial reporting. As of Friday, April 17, Galt has had almost 56% of its residents respond.

“Galt is doing a remarkable job at responding to the 2020 census survey,” Jose Homero Montano, a specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, remarked in an email to City Clerk Tina Hubert on Friday, April 17. “As of today, almost 56% of its residents have responded. That figure is 6% points above the national average.”

However, Montano said that not all census tracts have responded equally.

“We understand that, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the census may not be a priority for many people,” Montano said. “However, the fact that people are staying home and that they can easily respond online gives us high hopes to achieve a complete count.”

This year’s census is a bit easier to complete than years past. Residents can simply go online to my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020. Many languages are available. And you can still fill out the paper form that comes in your mailbox.

According to the census website, the census provides data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others use to provide services, products and support for each community. In addition, annually, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data.

“Participation in the Census is important for our community because it will guide funding to the city for infrastructure projects, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), school funding, library funding and so much more,” Galt Interim City Manager Tom Haglund said. “Every member of our community deserves to be counted so that we can work together to provide the programs and projects that will serve our needs. The Census count truly guides funding from the federal level. I encourage everyone to participate.”

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

Locally, census data will determine district boundaries for the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD), which governs over the Cosumnes Fire Department that services the Galt area. Accurate numbers of Galt residents will ensure proper representation on that board.

Taking a census is also in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 2 mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

And the law requires participating in the census.

Census officials want residents to know that they protect the personal information collected during this survey. The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.

This law protects your answers to the 2020 Census. Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000.