SPOKANE, Wash. — With the start of the decade comes the 2020 Census. It's the quick survey every household is obligated to fill out in order for every city, county and state to get an accurate count of who lives within their boundaries.
The numbers that come from the Census determine state funding, representation, support programs and more.
Depending on how many people fill out the census, it will also affect the amount of representation each state gets in congress and how cities develop their infrastructure.
There are often groups of people who do not get counted in the Census — most notably people with ethnic backgrounds, young children, renters and people in the LGBTQ community.
The state could lose approximately $30,000 dollars in funding for each person who isn;t get counted, according to the Spokane County Census Committee.
That committee is working to ensure as many people as possible in Spokane fill out the census.
They are doing that with a series of programs, including the Trusted Messenger Program that is focused on reaching people of color. Rohini Vyas, a trusted messenger program volunteer, reached out to her friends and family to spread awareness of the Census within the community on a personal level.
"I already have something established with you and so you're more likely to want to listen to me," Vyas said.
Vyas said some of the people she reached out to did not even know the census existed, which she said surprised her.
Another way the Spokane Census Committee is trying to increase the amount of people who fill it out is through an app called Solace. The app is designed to help people in the LGBTQ community feel accepted.
Solace creator Robbi Katherine Anthony hard wired 'the census' as a goal for any app user.
"It instructs them on how to get it done and just kind of some questions that are unique to this community and finds a way to answer them with dignity," she said.
Anthony said some communities feel apprehensive toward the Census because they wonder how the information will be used. The Spokane Census Committee is ensuring everyone that responses are secure and private.
Any answers can only be used for census statistics purposes, and legally cannot be used against anyone.
April 1 is the official Census day, and it can be filled out online, over the phone or by mail.