Breckenridge Texan

Why the Census matters to Breckenridge, Texas

Why the Census matters to Breckenridge, Texas
June 02
15:32 2020

Editor’s Note: Carrie Holson, the Executive Director of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, recently wrote the following article about the ongoing U.S. 2020 Census and what it means to Breckenridge:

Before I even begin, I know many people have different views regarding the Census. I have heard people say, “The government doesn’t need to know my business,” “The government asks too many questions.” I get it. I do. However, I also worked for a rural city for 21 years, and have seen a community in need be excluded from valuable funding because census information was inaccurate. So please, regardless of your views, hear me out.

I don’t make the rules, don’t always agree with them… but they are what they are. When cities and counties apply for federal and state funds, one of the first things looked at is if the jurisdiction is low-mod income. This information comes from the latest Census. (When I say “federal and state funding,” I am referring to funds for things like repaving streets, replacing old water lines, repairing sewer lift stations, installing generators, many common community needs.)

I understand, we all pay taxes, and taxes go to these things, but, as I said, I don’t make the rules. After several years of working within a city, I have to admit, my perspective changed. I realized there are funds set aside and allocated to cities and counties each fund cycle. The money will be allocated to cities and counties in Texas…and I started wanting my community to be part of it.

If someone said, “I won the lottery and have cash that I will be handing out to Breckenridge or a neighboring town. I need to know who needs it more,” what would you do? Wouldn’t you try to prove that Breckenridge needs the money so you could get some? Well, in a sense that’s what the Census does. It justifies the need in our community. And, if someone is going to get the money (and they will), why not Breckenridge? Why not have our streets projects be funded, our water lines improvements made?

The Census has been condensed over the years and can now even be completed online. Take a few minutes and fill yours out if you haven’t done so. Encourage others to do so, as well. It is confidential, the totals come back to the community, but your personal information does not. Be honest in your answers. I have seen people report higher wages because they want people to think they make more than they do. No one locally will see that; and all it does is alter the outcome of the community being properly assessed.

Another thing I would point out is that when chains (i.e. Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bueno, etc.) look at coming into a community, they utilize the Census data, as well.

Below is an article from “Connecting with Partners: READYNATION” that elaborates on uses of the Census:

“The U.S. Census Bureau is mailing invitations to households to participate in the 2020 Census. The data collected by the census every 10 years is incredibly important for not only our nation but also America’s business community. Although recent headlines about the 2020 Census have focused on political issues, they have overshadowed how critically important the census is to America’s businesses — large and small — in driving business growth and, ultimately, overall economic activity. By everyone responding, including individuals and those in the business community, it will help shape democracy, the role of economic progress and our communities over the next decade.

“Census data have been invaluable in guiding business decisions for more than 200 years. Today, such data help companies across a variety of fields and demographics. For example, financial institutions use data to identify sound lending opportunities, and it assists real estate appraisal companies to understand current and future housing demands. Even department stores use census data to analyze demographic changes, and Nielsen calculates television viewership ratings, informing marketing decisions and advertising rates.

“Similar to their corporate counterparts, small business owners rely on census data to advance their business operations. From providing accurate targeting that seeks out new and potential customers and employees to identifying business locations and advertising targets, it also helps evaluate the best offerings and products for different communities. Moreover, these entrepreneurs who use emerging technologies and apps rely on data to incorporate targeting information, which in turn supports their business operations. Without this crucial information, small businesses may not be able to succeed and expand.

“Federal, state, and local governments set strategies for economic growth and funding for business programs and services based census data. For example, U.S. Department of Agriculture Business and industry loans finance businesses and other efforts to improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. Overall, $1.5 trillion is dispersed to local and state jurisdictions based on census data collection.”

As of last week, only 40.9% of Breckenridge had responded to the Census. BRECKENRIDGE…IT”S TIME TO BE COUNTED!!!! – Carrie Holson, Executive Director, Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce

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