Though the process of the Census may be disrupted by the national COVID-19 outbreak, local officials are encouraging Ashley County citizens to complete their census forms.
People all over the country started receiving their Census packets in the mail over the last week, and though the Census Bureau has announced a temporary delay, the packet can still be completed now.
“It’s very important that we get everybody counted so that we can get the correct amount of funding,” Crossett Mayor Scott McCormick said.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people—both citizens and noncitizens—living in the United States.
In addition to funding, the census is used for many things, including to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to help redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries.
The census is also important in the event of an emergency because first responders and disaster recovery personnel use census data to help identify where and how much help is needed.
Crossett Deputy Clerk Lisa Gulledge said Crossett currently receives approximately $6,000 a month per capita for the general fund and around $30,000 for streets, which is based on city miles and per capita.
McCormick said he thinks the numbers might be lower this time than they were in 2010, which reported the Crossett population was 5,507.
McCormick said it’s hard to say just how much the population has dropped because there hasn’t been a count.
“We have a lot of empty houses right now, and we didn’t have that before,” Gulledge said.
The Census Bureau has workers who will go door-to-door to help make sure the Census is completed as accurately as possible. Those who don’t fill it out are guaranteed to have a Census worker knocking on their door in the coming months.
“Most of the time if you fill it out, you don’t have to worry about them knocking on your door,” McCormick said. “Unless they have a question or you didn’t complete it or something like that.”
The mayor said anyone who has questions about who to count to contact City Hall.
“I know some people have students away at college or situations where they aren’t sure, but we want to make sure we get everyone counted,” McCormick said.
Gulledge said that parents could certainly count their college student if that student was living in a dorm room on college campus and they weren’t counted on someone else’s census form.
“If we could get the word out to people to get this done, that would be good because we don’ t want to lose any more funding than we have to,” McCormick said. “We will do whatever we can to help because this is important.”