It’s a Census year and it’s important that everyone who lives in our country gets counted. Obviously, most of you feel the same way. Residents in Lapeer and St. Clair counties are being responsible and completing their 2020 Census forms at a higher rate than the state average.

The state has set a serious goal of seeing 82 percent of residents self-registering their households early in the process. Considering our options for other activities are pretty limited, let’s hope that will spur more Michigan residents to fill out their forms. Now that there’s an easy online option for completing the Census, that should increase the participation rate too.

It’s pretty self explanatory why someone would want to be counted in the 2020 Census–it’s directly related to the federal funding that’s directed to our communities for very important programs like food assistance, wildlife restoration and cooperative services like MSU Extension. Our schools feel the ramifications of Census results too particularly when it comes to funding for special education, early childhood programs, classroom technology and more.

The results of the Census play a key role in how our elected leaders decide to draft legislation, implement new programs or consider ways to bolster the economy. Non-profits and businesses can also use these statistics to make important decisions that impact you and your friends and neighbors.

Oftentimes in more rural communities like ours, we feel overlooked by policy makers because we lack the population densities of the cities and suburbs but the reality is that rural areas of the state are often undercounted, state leaders say. Taking part in the Census is at least one way to counter that sometimes “invisible” feeling and make sure we get our fair share.

Please take the time to complete your Census form and be counted for the sake of yourself, your friends and family, neighbors and this great place we call home.