If you live in a household in Providence County, you'll have received a letter recently from the U.S. Census Bureau. The letter asks residents to respond to the 2018 Census Test questionnaire ̶ just 10 questions that will take about 10 minutes to complete online, by mail or over the phone.
Census Day for the test is April 1, 2018 and Providence County households are able to respond online beginning on March 16. The Census Test is very important because will help the Census Bureau prepare for a complete and accurate Census of the entire United States in 2020. The Test will validate the readiness of the Census Bureau's operations, procedures, systems and field infrastructure for the once-in-a-decade census.
Providence County is the only 2018 Census Test site in the United States. It is exciting to know that Rhode Island residents are helping to create the model that the whole country will follow in 2020. Let’s set the bar high for the most complete count possible! The goal is to count every person living in Providence County.
How to Complete the Test
The Census Test questionnaire is available online and you can fill it out on any computer device or smartphone. The questionnaire can also be answered by phone or returned by mail. Computers will be available at Providence City Hall as well as at Post Offices for you to respond to your questionnaire. You can also quickly and conveniently complete your census test return at any Providence Community Library location on our public computers or on tablet devices located at the circulation desk.
Beginning in May, census takers will visit households that have not responded to the questionnaire online, by mail or over the phone to make sure that everyone is counted.
Completed Returns are Confidential
Your census responses are safe, secure and protected by law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics.Every Census Bureau employee swears a lifetime oath to protect your information, and could go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 if they violate that oath. It is illegal for the Census Bureau, or its employees, to share your personal information with any other government agency, local law enforcement, IRS, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), FBI, Immigration, etc. Not even the President of the United States can access your individual responses. Individual records from the Census are sealed for 72 years.
- Children count! Remember to include young children on your census form.
- College students count! College students living in Providence County on April 1 should be counted.
- Citizens and noncitizens alike count! The Constitution requires the census to count every resident in the nation, whether they are citizens or not.
Why the Census Matters
Census data are used in many ways, affecting our daily lives. Some examples include:
- Distribution of more than $675 billion annually in federal funds back to state, local, and tribal governments
- Redistricting of state legislative districts.
- Forecasting of future transportation needs for all segments of the population.
- Determining areas eligible for housing assistance and rehabilitation loans.
- Assisting federal, tribal, state, and local governments in planning and implementing programs and services and emergency response.
- Designing facilities for people with disabilities, the elderly, and children.
The Census is Important to Libraries
Over the last five years Providence Community Library has received a substantial amount of CDBG funding to support our Spanish GED program and to do major repairs on our libraries. That funding comes from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and what is allocated to Providence in total for CDBG funds is partially dependent on census data. Having the opportunity to impact that funding through encouraging everyone to be counted is exciting to us because we can serve more people!
It is easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for your community. Better infrastructure. More services. A brighter tomorrow for everyone. Let’s make the 2018 Census Test count for all of us in Providence County, and show our commitment to creating a better community. Encourage everyone you know to respond!