Residents and the municipalities they live in will benefit financially by participating in the 2020 U.S. Census that begins on April 1, according to county officials.
It may seem inconsequential to do so, but the short survey that people are asked to take will determine how much of the $900 billion allotted federal dollars Passaic County will receive.
It will also identify the towns, including West Milford, where the money will be sent.
Response to questions such as how many persons reside in a home, and if it is rented or mortgaged, determine the reapportion of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Population figures decide where to allocate the 435 House members in each state.
After the 2010 Census was taken, New Jersey suffered a loss in representation from 13 to 12 house seats in accord with census population figures.
The Passaic County Complete Count Committee formed earlier this year to prepare residents to respond to the 2020 Census.
The commission, headed by Co-Chairs Dr. Khyati Joshi and Michael Diaz, met on Dec. 18, 2019 to launch and present Passaic County multilingual census videos.
Freeholder Director John Bartlett also met with them.
Bartlett stressed the importance for everyone to know how important it is for them to respond to the census.
He said that by filling out the questionnaire, they are letting the government know how to allocate money over the next decade for education, infrastructure, law enforcement, economic development, social services, among other services.
In 2010, New Jersey was undercounted, according to officials.
The county has what are known as particularly “hard to count” areas in some municipalities, including the City of Paterson and Passaic.
Ethnic minority groups such as Arabic, Bangladeshi, Latinx, and South Asian communities fall under what the census bureau refers to as “HTC” or “Hard to Count” groups.
Videos to try and improve the count have been recorded in these languages and released.
They are a collaborative effort with the Passaic County College Communications Department headed by Professor Walter Behr.
The committee will be reaching out to train county leaders as census ambassadors, provide kiosks where residents can fill out census forms and on line forms to fill out for their household, Joshi said.
Census ambassadors are trained to provide help to persons needing it, and include teachers, child care providers, clergy, doctors, pharmacists and others whose work brings them in contact with hard to count communities, including the elderly and immigrants.
For more information go to Passaiccountynj.org/census.