Gila County Prepares for 2020 Census
If the population census seems like a modern invention, consider the Christmas Eve sermon delivered by pastor Byron Mills, reminding his congregation at St. John’s Episcopal Church of the gospel explaining that Mary and Joseph returned to Bethlehem for a population tally decreed by the Romans.
Every 10 years the Federal Census Bureau counts the entire United States population; a new tally required by the Constitution and used to determine how many representatives Arizona has in the US Congress, as well as to revise congressional district boundaries. Globe, Payson, Miami, Hayden, Winkelman and the San Carlos Apache Tribe use population data to plan for schools, roads, and emergency services. Businesses study census demographic trends to choose new business openings. And each year, federal agencies distribute hundreds of billions of dollars to communities based on Census Bureau data.
Pre-Census Complete Count Committee Gila County has formed a Pre-census Complete Count Committee, and invites community leaders to our organizational meetings throughout 2019. Our goal? To announce and promote the census during the coming year – encouraging everyone in Gila County to participate. To RSVP to attend our next Complete Count Committee meeting, or to be added to the alert list – please call Stacey at (928)402-4336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“There’s a lot at stake with the 2020 census,” says Roy Sandoval, Gila County Superintendent of Schools. “And, yes, that’s still more than a year in the future – but 2019 is the year that we need community leaders to help promote the census, announcing it over the year ahead to your congregations, your neighbors, constituents, students, staff and your employees. We need to reach residents who are least likely to participate in the census – we’ve got to reassure them that its simple, anonymous, and ever so important to Gila County for funding over the next decade.” Sandoval and others on the new Complete Count Committee invite Rim Country pastors, teachers, town council and school board members and anyone who has an audience to help emphasize that the 2020 census is convenient, anonymous and important.
Convenient – and Confidential Convenient because it has only a dozen questions, and for the first time in history can be completed online or by phone, in addition to the traditional paper copy. And it’s anonymous by law; the Census Bureau is forbidden from identifying specific data or individuals too. Adding some buzz to the coming count, the Census Bureau launched a new tool: Response Area Outreach Mapper (census.gov/roam) a website where anyone can view statistical data – and monitor census completion by communities and regions. Visit and you’ll find an odometer-like counter, tracking births in real time (one birth every 8 seconds, compared to a death every 11 seconds). Explore census.gov/quickfacts/gilacountyarizona for facts about our county
You may already know our total population is over 53,000 - but were you aware that:
• 28 percent are age 65 and older
• Race: 62 percent white, 18.7 percent Hispanic, 17.6 percent Native American or Alaska Native - and .8 percent Black or African American
• 5,500 are veterans, 72 percent live in 'owner occupied' home - with an average value of $153,000
• 85 percent are graduates of high school. 19 percent earned a bachelor's degree or higher
• 14 percent of those under age 65 don't have health insurance - a number nearly identical to the percentage of Gila County resident under age 65 who reported having a disability
• The Bureau reports 47 percent of the workforce over age 16 are employed, and it takes an average 18.7 minutes to travel to work! Median household income is listed as $41,179, with per capita income $22,433 - and 24 percent of the population living in poverty
• Business? Bureau statistics show 4,000 businesses – 1,800 owned by men, 1,495 owned by women, and 851 owned by minorities and 406 owned by Veterans.