Douglas County has formed its first Complete Count Committee to motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census. The committee kicked off publicly Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Government Center.

“This is a very important community project,” Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said. “We’re all trying to volunteer to get this thing moving along because it means such a big dollar-wise loss for every person not counted.”

The Census count is used to determine both fair political representation and which communities will receive federal funding each year. Some state funding is also tied to Census population numbers. That funding supports education, healthcare, transportation, housing assistance and rehabilitation loan programs in addition to other vital programs.

Wisconsin is one of 37 states that lost $1,338 for every person who was missed in the 2010 Census.

The Complete Count Committee is seeking help from nonprofit, faith-based, community and business groups in Douglas County to spread the word about the importance of responding to the 2020 Census.

Renters, students, immigrants, people older than 62, and children younger than 5 are least likely populations to be represented in response to the Census. Douglas County’s Complete Count Committee will work to increase response rates through targeted outreach campaigns to these members of the community. They will concentrate efforts on areas that had lower response rates and may have been undercounted in the 2010 Census.

“Looking at the maps, it was primarily in Superior. The outer parts of the county were generally about 85% response rate,” said Robert Gullnik, a Census office representative.

Many of the areas that were undercounted are actually recipients of the services and dollars that are allocated through Census numbers, Liebaert said.

“It’s very important we count those people accurately,” he said.

During March, each household should receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census. The Census will be primarily conducted online, with the option to complete the survey by telephone or mail. Official Census takers will conduct in-person surveys at households that do not initially respond.

All responses are confidential and protected by law. The Census Bureau is required to keep respondent information confidential and not share that information with immigration authorities, law enforcement agencies or allow it to be used to determine eligibility for government benefits. The results from the Census are reported in statistical format only.

Visit www.douglascountywi.org/1107/2020-Census for more information or call the County Clerk’s Office 715-395-1568.