Connect with us

U.S. News

Abilene officials say filling out census crucial to representing diverse community



ABILENE, TX – After some back-and-forth on the deadline to fill out your 2020 census, the date has been set for Oct. 5.

Jay Hardaway, with Census Relations for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, says each person counted adds to the potential money cities and counties could get from the government.

“We want a count that is as high and accurate as possible so we’re getting our share of our tax dollars, basically,” Hardaway said.

From health care and college costs to nutrition programs at schools, Abilene Independent School District Superintendent Dr. David Young says every number matters.

“Your lunch program, the National School Lunch Program, and the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act spins off of census data,” Dr. Young said.

Hardaway said in years past, Abilene and Texas as a whole haven’t done the best at representing our diverse communities.

“A lot of low response areas tend to have minority populations, they tend to have people whose first language isn’t English, younger people, college students, military personnel that live off base, those are huge components of who Abilene is as a community,” he said.

Hardaway says we’d be underwhelmingly representing the Key City.

“Because those are some of the things we’re most proud of in our community. We’re proud of our colleges, we’re proud of our base, we’re proud of our diversity we have as a community,” he said.

But some people’s perceptions of where home really is is also driving the low turnout, according to Hardaway.

“But they don’t think as Abilene as home, they think of Tulsa, or Shreveport, or Montgomery, Alabama, or wherever it is they’re from originally a lot of the times is home. And that still may be where their address is, but the census isn’t based on your address so much as where you lay your head at night,” he said.