by Toni-Anne Barry
Shaping the future of America isn’t an easy task. Everyone living in a America in 2020 will have the once in a decade opportunity to play a role in doing just that, and the participation of each individual is equally invaluable. In mid-March of 2020 the U.S. Census Bureau will begin gathering data for the 2020 Census by giving all households the opportunity to submit their census questionnaires online, by mail, or by phone. Unfortunately, not all U.S. residents see the impact that census data can have on their community and instead ignore the census form. In reality, each response directly contributes to the development and representation of their local area.
Data gathered from the census will be first and foremost used to determine how much federal aid or grants a community is eligible for. This helps the construction of new schools, hospitals, roads, and housing. These community improvements may lead to other long-term benefits such as the creation of jobs and new opportunities for community members. But that’s not all—a state’s representation in Congress is also dependent on this data. A complete population count means that a state will be apportioned the correct number of Congressional seats to represent its residents in Washington, D.C.
It’s clear that every U.S. resident is personally impacted by an accurate census, but census data can offer small business owners in particular some benefits that are unique to them. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an accurate census can impact future business strategies and informs business decisions. Census data helps business owners, and hoteliers specifically, identify optimal locations for expansion projects. They can see what geographies have emerging markets, where there is a solid consumer base, and concentrations of populations of job seekers. Analyzing the data on population and household income can even help employers develop competitive pricing and wages. This is an opportunity that hoteliers can’t afford to pass up so now is the time to personally commit to responding to the 2020 Census and encourage others to do so as well.
It’s also important to note that certain subsets of the American population, such as Asian Americans, are actually much less likely to participate in the census than other ethnic groups because of unfamiliarity with the effort. This means that, in 2020, Asian Americans are at a high risk of being undercounted. The 2020 census is an opportunity for AAHOA members to change this trend and use their responses to highlight the economic contributions of Asian Americans.
Now, AAHOA members care deeply about the protection of their personal privacy and it’s understandable why some hoteliers might hesitate before sharing their information. Title 13 of the U.S. Code, however, is a safe guard against any dissemination of personal information gathered through the census. The law requires that any data collected on individuals, households, and businesses can only be used for the purpose of generating statistics. This protection allows all citizens to rest assured that their information will be kept totally confidential and secure.
Responding to the Census next year will be easier than ever. It’s a quick process consisting of simple, straightforward questions that everyone can respond to by phone, online, or in the mail at their convenience. Remember, complete participation in the census allows communities, small business, and the nation to progress. It’s never too early to start getting out the word, making sure that you and those in your community know that this simple yet important civic duty can have a lasting effect on the future of this country.