Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau takes a count of the population of the entire country. This year, Census Day falls on April 1 and every city, town and community across the U.S. will be accounted for.
In Vermillion, the Complete Count Committee from the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) is responsible for ensuring an accurate and full count of each person in the community.
Nate Welch, VCDC President and CEO, said it’s extremely important for every person in Vermillion to register for the 2020 census, especially USD students.
“Every individual living in Vermillion on April 1 should register as a resident of Vermillion,” Welch said. “And we want to make sure that not only people understand that responsibility, but also are encouraged with that because we do want to make sure that all of our residents, which include our students that are counted in Vermillion.”
The number of people counted in each census affects the way in which federal funding happens, Welch said. State, local, country and city funding all depend on how many people are in a certain area.
Welch said the question is not a matter of where someone may be from or where they prefer to live, but where they are living on April 1. So if an individual is living in Vermillion on this day, he or she will be counted in the census.
USD students are a pivotal part of the census, Welch said. Students living on campus are registered and counted in the census by the university, while students living off-campus are responsible for registering themselves.
Addison Miller, a first-year political science and secondary education major, said she didn’t know USD students were counted in the census, but it’s critical they participate.
“The census is an essential part of data analytics within the United States,” Miller said. “On a national scale, it tells us where people are moving and what states get what amount of representatives. On a more local scale, such as USD, it can help provide campus staff on what types of people are more likely to be willing to move to an area such as Vermillion.”
According to the 2010 census, the population of Vermillion was just over 10,600. Welch said factoring in the USD population helps a lot with the numbers.
“There’s a good amount of those students weren’t counted or weren’t registering themselves in Vermillion,” Welch said. “We need to be able to make sure that we have an accurate count of how many people are in Vermillion the majority of the year. It helps us know exactly how many people on a daily basis are here in Vermillion.”
Normally, to register for the census, forms are mailed to every individual’s home across the country. This year, however, there is also the option to register online through census.gov.
Registration will run from April to late June when census workers will begin the “doorknocking” process of the census to account for anyone who may not have registered.
Welch said the combination of the online registration and USD students could possibly increase Vermillion’s population from 2010.
“I’m hopeful that we’re going to see some growth numbers when it comes to Vermillion in the population,” Welch said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what those numbers come to.”
Miller said although registering for the census may seem like a small thing, it sits on a much bigger scale.
“While on a person to person basis, people may not care too much about the information the census provides, it helps provide information on every sort of demographic within the country,” Miller said.
In preparation for Census Day, Welch and the rest of the VCDC are planning to release a campaign with promotional messages to inform and encourage people to register for the census.
“We want to make sure that a real clear message is put out to the community so that everybody knows not only the information but the accurate information in a timely manner,” Welch said. “We’ve missed out on opportunities for the community that would be good for everybody because of an inaccurate count.”