U.S. Census Bureau starts first major field operation in Limestone County

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. -- Our nation gets one chance each decade to count the population, and the United States Census Bureau has started it's first major field operation of the 2020 census in Limestone County.

The census takes place every ten years and the information collected is used to get a broad sense of the people living in that community, and the number of people.

The Limestone County Commission chairman Collin Daly says an accurate count of people is important. "Without an accurate count, if we start behind for the next ten years... you're already behind," says Daly. "Madison County, Limestone County, Morgan County, Lauderdale County... all the areas in the north part of the region are really growing. With the growth we are experiencing, that money is vital to us."

To get the accurate count, the U.S. Census Bureau has started to address canvassing. They say they do this to "improve and refine" the address list of households nationwide.

Limestone County Commission Community Relations Coordinator Michelle Williamson explains what you can expect when an employee comes to your door:

Census Bureau employees will have badges and briefcases indicating their affiliation with the Census Bureau. They will knock on doors and ask a few simple questions to verify the address and any additional living quarters on the property for inclusion in the census. These employees will introduce themselves as a Census Bureau employee, show their official government ID badge, and explain the purpose of the visit.

Chairman Daly says some people might be nervous to answer a question or give out their information to the Census Bureau employees, but wants to remind everyone: "It's against the law for them to give that information to anybody. That information is 100% contained with them."

The data collected by the census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

The address canvassing will be taking place through October 18, 2019.

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