Eagle County launches 2020 U.S. Census push
Efforts will include outreach to traditionally hard-to-count populations
EAGLE — The U.S. Census isn’t a sexy undertaking, but it is a vital one.
The numbers generated during the count, set to begin in spring 2020, stay relevant for a whole decade. They shape a region’s political landscape and affect a myriad of funding decisions.
So, like virtually every jurisdiction in the nation, Eagle County wants to make sure every single resident is counted during the 2020 census. The Eagle River Valley Complete Count Committee is now at work on that mission.
“The impacts from the census are felt pretty far and wide by all residents,” said Abby Dallmann, special projects manager for Eagle County. “The county is particularly impacted through funding for some of our programs and services.”
The local census committee has more than 70 contact names and 25 active members. The list includes major employers, churches, governmental entities, law enforcement, political organizations, nonprofits and community groups.
The goals of the Eagle River Valley Complete Count Committee are straightforward:
- Create safety for all Eagle County residents to complete the census through inclusive communications and events.
- Support community partners in carrying out messaging where trust is already built.
- Garner a high response rate in order to fund the essential programs and services to support all Eagle County populations.
Hard to count
For most of Eagle County, census forms will be hand-delivered. That’s because the U.S. Census doesn’t consider P.O. boxes a physical address, but that’s where most residents receive mail. That’s just the first challenge when it comes to getting an accurate local count.
Eagle County is home to a large population of hard-to-count residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In general terms, these people include:
- Young children
- Highly mobile persons
- Racial and ethnic minorities
- Non-English speakers
- Low-income persons
- Persons experiencing homelessness
- Undocumented immigrants
- Persons who distrust the government
- LGBTQ persons
- Persons with mental or physical disabilities
- Persons who do not live in traditional housing
“Right now what we are doing is we have contacted different organizations in the valley for targeting communications with these hard-to-count populations,” Dallmann said.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs has allocated $6 million to assist communities with their census outreach. Dallmann said the local group will definitely be seeking grant money and is currently crunching numbers to determine its ask.
“Right now what we are doing is preliminary planning. You will see most of our outreach efforts in the new year,” Dallmann said.
But the federal government has already launched the first phase of its census effort with census taker recruitment. Finding and hiring census workers falls on the feds, but the local census committee encourages local residents to apply.
“We want folks who live here to be the ones going to the doors,” Dallmann said.
For more information or to apply to be a census taker, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.
Eagle County Schools added six mental health counselors and the district will add two more school resource officers, according to the school district’s 2019-2020 budget book. The district also aised starting pay and gave staffers a 2.3% cost-of-living raise.