Gov. Evers forms committee focused on 'hard to count' populations in 2020 censusSubmitted: 10/28/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin

Gov. Evers forms committee focused on 'hard to count' populations in 2020 census
WAUSAU - You might find a post card or letter from the US government in your mail box soon asking how many people live in your home. The arrival of those mailings mark the start of 2020 Census. 

Historic census data shows different communities in Northern Wisconsin have some difficulty completing the survey.

In Milwaukee Monday, Gov. Tony Evers announced his plan to make sure all Wisconsinites are counted.
Evers signed Executive Order #55, which creates the Wisconsin Complete Count Committee.

The group is designed to identify barriers that may prevent "hard to count" populations in Wisconsin from completing the national survey. The committee will also develop, recommend and assist in outreach and education efforts.

"Hard to count" populations include immigrant communities, members of tribal nations and ethnic minorities including Hmong, Latino and Black Americans. People who live in rural communities, untraditional housing, or have mental and physical disabilities are also considered "hard to count." In Wisconsin, the "hard to count" population is over 613,000.

According to census data, many of those communities are in Northern Wisconsin. In several counties across the Northwoods people did not receive a mailed census questionnaire. Instead, census takers visited homes and enumerated the residents. 

Eric Giordano with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service says the increased effort to count Wisconsinites is important. 

"As a citizen of Wisconsin we should want to know who's here and we should want to have an accurate count," said Giordano.

Without an accurate count, people in Wisconsin could see changes in local government. In the year 2000, Wisconsin went from nine congressional districts to eight because of a declining population.

With the number of babies born in the state down 12% in the past ten years, Wisconsin is expected to see more deaths than births within the next two decades. That trend will affect representation in Congress.

"I think potentially that could mean less voice and less opportunities for us here compared to other states," Giordano.

For the first time in 2020, people will be able to respond to the census both online from any device OR traditionally by mail or phone.

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