Chamber urges 2020 Census response

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce is urging citizens of Blytheville to participate in the 2020 Census.

“Every year, we leave lots of money on the table because so many people are never counted in our population,” Chamber president Billy Curl said. “We worry about the population declining, but do we do all we can to get a real count? We all can help.”

With dismal response numbers to date—Blytheville is only at 46 percent compared to the state rate of 56 percent and the national rate of 62 percent — the Chamber is exploring ideas to help build local response.

“We plan to set up booths at a few public places and send information to businesses, who can encourage employees to participate,” Curl said. “We also are considering a “sign & dine” event to bring people out.”

The importance of 2020 Census is significant, as counts inform decisions on spending of billions of federal dollars for programs such as Medicaid, Head Start, SNAP and community block grants. Results also affect the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and determine new lines for congressional and state legislative districts. In short, responses gathered in this one year set the course for funding and legislative representation for the next ten years.

Low counts historically have plagued many states.

Non-respondents sometimes simply forget or do not participate, but studies also indicate that many people mistrust the Census, fearing that the results will be used against them.

Census officials stress that Census response is not accessed by the IRS, immigration officials or law enforcement agencies, and information does not violate privacy rights.

The Chamber will be working to address these issues, along with making participation convenient.

“At the Chamber, we just want the best for our town,” Curl continues. “Blytheville needs every dime it can get to help our economy thrive. Getting yourself counted is effective and easy. We just ask everyone to please do it.”