The 2020 census is getting closer.
This coming year, it’s important that everyone gets counted because it affects not only how much money the state receives, it affects how much is given to each city, county and reservation.
It’s that last category — the reservations and indigenous population that has census workers and state officials the most concerned.
The Bureau of the Census is part of the Department of Commerce and is responsible for producing data on the state’s demographics and economy.
According to the National Census, there’s a huge population in North Dakota that’s not being accounted for.
The state’s indigenous population, both in urban and rural areas and on reservations.
“What was discovered with the 2010 census was about 4.9 percent of American Indians on reservations were not counted. They were missed for whatever reason,” explained Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota Census Office.
A tribal census task force is being created as a way to receive an accurate count for the number of people living on the reservations in the state, by building a team to make members of the tribes comfortable with census workers.
“I think it’s a little bit of trust issue. Now if we have tribal members who are from there, that you and I are neighbors and I know you, and you know what I do. Okay! Well here’s our number. Here’s how many people live in our household. I think that will be an achievable way of getting an accurate count,” shared Scott Davis, the Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.
The tribal census task force has teamed up with state leaders and the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission to educate the community on the importance of the census.
Like to help people understand the flow of funds to schools, roads and hospitals in their area, and how significant that federal funding that flows to that school or the school lunch program.
Tribal leaders are also doing their part to get people to participate in the census by doing public service announcements specific to their regions.
Along with taking a headcount, the census is used to decide the location of new housing and public facilities.
It also plays a part in the number of congressional representatives each state has.