Census 2020 is an opportunity Atlanta cannot afford to miss.

The Census, which only occurs every 10 years, is a critically important event that has real-life consequences for every resident and everyone in Atlanta.

Keisha Lance Bottoms is mayor of Atlanta and chair of the Census Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The information collected by the census determines two things: power and money. The number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, how many Electoral College votes states receive, and how we draw state legislative districts are all dependent on our Census count.
It is also used to determine the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

For Atlanta to get its fair share, we need everyone to complete a Census form, so that we get the representation we deserve in Washington and at the state Capitol.

We must ensure that the tax dollars we send to Washington come back to our communities in a fair and equitable manner.

Each Atlanta household that is not counted will cost us $1,336 in potential funding. Over a 10-year period, that is a loss of $13,336 per person not counted.

The good news is that Atlanta is ahead of the curve and leading the nation in being prepared for the Census count. We have cleaned up or added nearly 80,000 previously excluded addresses that are now eligible to be counted in the Census.

We are also currently in the process of confirming addresses for new construction.

By counting these Atlantans, we will potentially add millions of dollars in federal funding for public services in Atlanta each year.

Our goal is to contact as many residents as possible before April 1, 2020, when everyone can begin filling out their Census forms.

We need to reach everyone in our historically undercounted areas, especially our seniors, our immigrant population and our non-English-speaking populations. Children are also traditionally undercounted in the Census.

This will be the first “digital census” in the history of our country, and the Census Bureau is asking everyone to complete their questionnaire online.

Residents must be able to access the technology and resources needed to participate and be assured that the process is trustworthy.

The Census is about money and power. But it is also about our future. If you get counted, you count.

We must bring the power of our communities to the table, because we care about our public libraries, our roads, schools, and programs that support those in need.

If you have friends, neighbors and family members who may not be aware of the Census, please remind them about this opportunity and urge them to participate.

It is essential that our residents get the resources needed to participate.

The city of Atlanta has been hard at work on Census outreach for some time now, but there is much work to do.

I want to thank our community partners in the business, faith-based and civic sectors who are supporting our Complete Count Committee, which is being co-chaired by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta).

Congressman Lewis lived and sacrificed during a time when not every American counted. Let us show the world that those days no longer exist in 21st century America.

It is up to us to ensure that our city’s great diversity is measured in an accurate and meaningful way.

To learn more about the city’s work on the Census, to volunteer, or sign up as a Census Ambassador, please visit ATLCounts.org.