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It’s time to stand up and be counted.

The 2020 Census matters and will shape the next 10 years and help determine the number of seats that each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and the funding that will be allocated to each state and local lawmakers for the next decade. Those funds are used to help support schools, hospitals, roads, fire departments and other entities in our community.

Beginning in March, during the heat of the NCAA Tournament, households can respond to the census online or by phone. Others will receive a paper questionnaire in an effort to get head count of every person residing in the United States. This year’s count will be the first to include an online option as well as the traditional mail feature.

A lot has changed since the first Census took place in 1790 and Kentucky was among the first 13 states to take part in the very first count. U.S. Marshals and assistants traveled by horseback and foot to rerecorded their answers on forms made of parchment and animal skins.

The population of the five largest cities (New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Charleston and Baltimore_ totaled 109,826, enough to fill Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The total population after the first count was 3.9 million and provided 105 members in the House of Representatives. The house currently houses 435 representatives, including six from Kentucky.

A census count is mandated by the United States Constitution and conducted by the non-partisan U.S. Census Bureau. The count includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five off-shore territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). This will mark the 24th time in our nation’s history that a census count has been conducted and there’s no excuse for not participating in the mandated count.

The first census of this decade began on Jan. 21 in a remote Alaskan Village of Toksook Bay in Alaska.

When the last Census was last completed in 2010, the population of Madison County was 82, 216. The county’s population estimate stood at 92,368 in 2018 and grew at a rate of 11.4 percent during an eight-year span. Between 2000 and 2010, the state population grew by 7.4 percent and new legislative district maps in the state were drawn.

In order to get an adequate number, it’s important that every member of your household be counted, even children. It matters now and in the future.

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