The Census is both beneficial to our community and mandatory.

This is the first year that I've had to fill out a Census as an independent adult. I'll admit, I had heard about the Census growing up and I knew that it was a chance to be counted, but I didn't understand the benefits of filling it out. I also didn't know that it was mandatory until I opened up that letter in the mail.

It's crucial for our leaders to "see" us with this Census. It's used as a measuring stick to make sure everyone is taken care of the way they should be. The federal government uses this information to determine where valuable assistance funds are distributed.

Plus, it's fun to see how our local population fluctuates over the years.

The Census is passed out every 10 years and it just so happens that 2020 is a Census year. I know, throw something else on the pile of stuff we need to get handled this year, why don't you? It was sent out in March of this year, right at the height of the pandemic. Initially, self-responses were due on July 31, but because the world was upside down, the date was extended.

The 2020 Census is now due October 5 and Idaho is still struggling to respond.

Now, I'm not calling us out. In fact, our response rate is better than the national average of 66.6 percent at this point. We are sitting at 69.1 percent. This number is also better than our last Census response rate which was 67.1 percent.

The good news if you haven't responded yet is you can jump online and knock it out. Log onto my2020census.gov. It only takes about 10-15 minutes and questions are about you. Now, is it another task to add to your list? Sure. However, it's super simple and not intimidating at all.