On Sept. 30, 2020, the United States Census Bureau (“USCB”) will stop accepting Census data, meaning this is the final deadline for you and your household to be counted!
Every 10 years, the USCB is charged with counting each resident of the United States based on where the individual lives as of April 1. The information gathered by the USCB is used to
determine how many seats in the United States House of Representatives are allocated to each state. The results are also used to redraw the borders of Congressional districts and other political districts and, importantly, as a factor in the formulas that the Federal government uses to
distribute federal funds to states.
In 1790, the very first United States Census was conducted during the first term of President George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, secretary of state at the time, was responsible for heading
up the operation. At that time, the population of the United States was 3,929,625. This number was used by Congress to allocate the 105 seats in the United States House of Representatives among the 15 states that existed at that time. The United States Constitution mandates that the Census be conducted every 10 years in Article I, Sections 2 and 9.
Along with allocating Congressional seats, the Census results are used to redraw the boundaries of state legislative and other voting districts within each state. In Georgia, the Georgia
House of Representatives and Georgia Senate are tasked with redrawing district boundaries through a process called apportionment.
In the House, the committee responsible for this task is the Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee, currently chaired by Bonnie Rich from Suwanee. In the Senate, the committee
responsible for this task is the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, presently chaired by Matt Brass from Newnan.
In April of next year, the USCB will deliver the results of the 2020 census to Georgia and the reapportionment committees will begin the work of redrawing lines in a way that ensures that Georgia’s citizens are fairly represented in Atlanta and Washington D.C..
As of this newsletter’s writing, Georgia’s response rate of 61.5 percent is well below the national average of 66 percent. Two of the counties in District 159 are also below the state and national
averages, with Bulloch County’s response rate at 52.5 percent and Screven County’s response rate at 51.9 percent. Effingham County County’s response rate is above Georgia’s response rate at 65. percent
but still below the national average.
Fortunately, if you have not responded to the Census, you still have time!
I hope that those of you who have not completed the Census will be sure to do so before the end of the month, ensuring adequate representation and appropriate allocation of federal resources for our state.
Thank you all for allowing me to represent Georgia House District 159. It is truly an honor to work for you and this great state. If you have any feedback, do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook.
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Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.