View of downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock along the Arkansas River

We’re officially three weeks into the coronavirus quarantine, and we finally feel like we (might) have a routine down. For many of us, our days now consist of working from home, ordering takeout and, when weather permits, getting much-needed fresh air.

In the midst of adapting to this temporary new way of life, some of us have forgotten the most important item on our spring to-do lists: completing the 2020 U.S. Census.

But we can’t afford to wait any longer. Before we fire up that next binge-worthy show, we must take 10 minutes and get counted. Here’s why:

1. It supports our community.

The data gathered in the U.S. Census is essential to determining the amount of funding Arkansas receives for education, health care, roads and other resources we rely on every day. Even a one percent undercount of our population — approximately 30,000 people — could result in a loss of nearly $1 billion.

2. It helps deliver aid in times of need.

When public health emergencies or outbreaks like COVID-19 occur, our state’s officials use census data to predict the spread of disease through our communities. Likewise, when natural disasters strike, census data helps first responders better identify where to go and who to help.

3. It allows our voices to be heard.

Census data is used to redraw our congressional districts and ensure fair political representation. If we’re undercounted, our communities will receive less support in our nation’s capital.

4. It’s quick and easy.

As the U.S. Census Bureau recently noted, “It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker.” With only 10 questions, it’s a breeze to complete and, during social distancing, requires no human-to-human interaction.

Go get counted, Little Rock. And then tell 20 friends, family members and fellow Arkansans to complete their forms at my2020census.gov. Together, we can help ensure #ARCounts.

 

Kara Wilkins is the coordinator of Arkansas Counts, a statewide, community-led initiative dedicated to ensuring an accurate and representative 2020 U.S. Census.