On September 30th, the Census Bureau will officially stop counting U.S. residents in the 2020 Census. Because the Census is only conducted once every ten years, those who do not complete their Census by the end of this month will remain uncounted for the next decade. For each tribal citizen missed, it is estimated that the tribe will lose $3000 in federal funding. With only a 35% completion rate, the Spokane Tribe currently stands to lose millions of dollars that would otherwise go towards TANF, the Boys and Girls Club, the IHS Clinic, and much more.
The most significant consequence of not completing the Census is an inaccurate count of the Spokane Tribal community, resulting in less public funding and less representation. However, there are also individual risks and consequences that households may face for not completing the Census– an obligation that is technically required by law. Refusal to answer all or part of the Census carries a $100 fine, and providing false information to the Census carries a $500 fine. In order to avoid the risk of fines, each household must complete the Census in full, which only takes between five and twenty minutes total.
You still have time to complete the Census by phone, by mail, or online. You will need either your 12-digit Census pin- which was hand delivered- or your address. To complete the Census by phone, call 844-330-2020. Phone attendants will also be available to assist Census-takers with any questions or concerns. To complete the Census by mail, simply fill out the questionnaire that was hand delivered and send it back in the return envelope free of charge. For this option, the envelope must be postmarked by September 30; the Census Bureau may receive the envelope at a later date, but it will still be counted. The Census can also be completed online at my2020census.gov. Census-takers will need their address, the names and birthdates of everyone in their household, and other basic demographic information. For any questions, or if you or a family member needs any assistance, please contact the Spokane Tribe’s Census Team at 2020Census@SpokaneTribe.com.