It’s August, it’s hot and some days move in slow motion. However, if Blaine County residents don’t hurry up and submit data to the U.S. census, we will hurt ourselves and our kids for a decade to come.

The national head count determines how trillions of dollars in federal funds for transportation, education programs, business grants, rental assistance and housing are distributed. Grants for preschool education and school food programs depend on accurate counts.

Compared to other counties, Blaine County’s household response rate isn’t looking good. Blaine ranks 40th of 44 counties in Idaho with a response rate of 38.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ada County tops the state with 78.3 percent of households responding to date.

Census workers are currently conducting calls in person on households that have not responded.

By law, residents do not have to be U.S. citizens to be counted. The census has nothing to do with citizenship status, but it has everything to do with fair and representative government.

Lawmakers use the census to draw election district boundaries. The census determines the number of representatives an area may have in Congress or in the Legislature.

A lot is riding on the outcome of a census that’s been impeded by the coronavirus and recently by the Census Bureau’s decision to end house-to-house canvassing by Sept. 30, a month earlier than planned.

So, fire up the computer (www.2020census.gov), send in the mailed census form or call 844-330-2020 (844-468-2020 for Spanish) and get counted.

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