Community leaders kick off 'Be Counted Detroit' effort for 2020 US Census

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The message is clear - millions of dollars of funding are at stake when someone chooses to not be counted in the US Census.

"In 2010 the lowest response rate of any major city in America was in Detroit," Mayor Mike Duggan said. And that lack of response cost the city millions in areas like Head Start funding, food assistance programs and others.

"Anyone here think the roads need improvement? The federal road money is allocated by the census count," Duggan said.

Working to not let a low count happen on his watch, Mayor Mike Duggan joined forces with community leaders to kick off Be Counted Detroit.

"This time we're not making any excuses; we're starting early because of what's at stake," Duggan said.

But Duggan, who was a Census Taker in 1980, understands that the census count faces obstacles then and now.

"People of color tend to be more suspicious," Duggan said. "The minority undercount is a very real thing."

Part of the campaign is to erase fear and let people know your information is kept confidential.

"This information is sealed for over 70 years," said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan).

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Another potential factor some believe could hinder an accurate count is that the Trump Administration wants a question on citizenship, included in the census.

"That question was put in there for political reason," Peters said. "And I'm hopeful the Supreme Court will throw that question out."

That's why Mayor Duggan and other community leaders are pushing for thousands of Detroiters to serve as census canvassers. 

This 2020 Census will also be the first to rely heavily on online responses but if you don't have a computer, 100 assistance centers will be set up across Detroit so people can fill out their census forms online.  

The official census count takes place from March 2020 to July of 2020. 

For every person in Detroit who is not counted in this Census, Detroit will lose an estimated $1,800 in federal funding every year for the next 10 years.

To learn more about the count, or, how to become a census worker CLICK HERE.