by Mayor Simison
We are in the final countdown for residents to complete the 2020 Census and help shape the future of our community. I first want to thank all of you who have already taken the time to fill it out. Meridian was one of the top cities for self-reporting with 79% of households choosing to do so. If you didn’t have a chance to respond yet, I am asking for just ten minutes of your time to do so by September 30. Your actions help provide vital information to will impact Meridian for the next ten years.
Completed once a decade, the Census is an official count of the people living in the United States mandated by the United States Constitution. It is coordinated by the U.S. Census Bureau and takes place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and our five U.S. territories. Like many other things in 2020, the Census has gone virtual. That means, for the first time ever, that the Census can be completed online, which is a huge step in the right direction to streamline the process and get a complete count.
Why is the Census important to the Meridian community? Well, since the 2010 count, Meridian has grown tremendously. In order for us to have an accurate idea of the number of people living within our great City, it’s important to get a complete count this year. The Census determines funding for various federal programs and needs and helps set the number of legislative seats at all levels of government. Each State is assigned their number of legislative seats in the US House of Representatives from the Census, ensuring proper representation by the people who live in Idaho and all other states. Our final count will determine our representation in Congress where we are poised to gain an additional seat. Based on population projections, Meridian could also stand to obtain State legislative Districts that are fully within Meridian’s boundaries.
In addition, due to legislation passed by the Idaho State Legislature, the 2020 Census will be used for the first time to establish districts for City Council members. Meridian currently holds elections where Council candidates are elected “at large” by the entire community, with no requirements as to a candidates specific residential location within Meridian. I have supported voting districts for many years and look forward to this transition. A complete count of Meridian residents is vital to ensuring the districting boundaries are accurately set to determine fair representation when it comes to establishing these districts.
In a nutshell, the Census matters and it is important that everyone be counted. If you haven’t done so yet, please visit census.gov by September 30th and take part in this civic responsibility.
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