2020 Census: where are students counted?

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By Khalem Caldwell

Home is where many people describe to be where they live, especially when belonging to a family and a household. College students, the majority of the time, do not consider college to be their home. However, now the census is technically making college a student’s home.

The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

The count is a mandated law by the Constitution and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. 

The way the U.S. Census Bureau informs households is by sending invitations to each home to respond to a short questionnaire. Questionnaires will be available by phone, by mail, and for the first time ever, online.

Colleges and universities around the country depend on student and family responses to the census. The results of the Census help determine how much federal funding a community will receive over the next 10 years.

A response to the Census has a decade long effect, even though Quincy University is a private institution it still receives federal funding. Administrators such as Christine Tracy, Ph.D., can not stress enough how important the Census actually is.

“The census is where Quincy University receives federal money,” Tracy said. “QU bases its budget on the number of students we have.”

When responding to the 2020 Census, college students are to be counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1, 2020.

For most college students, that implies in their college town, not what they refer to as back home with their parents. 

Parents and guardians can only include a college student on their Census form if that student lives with them full time. Students studying or living abroad should not be included as well.

However, having the census work this way does not sit right with every student.

Joseph Cole is a QU student who comes from a large city background.

“Why am I counted in Quincy?” Cole said. “I don’t consider Quincy as home.”

Census collecting data will wrap up at the end of July.

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