<strong>By Sarah Richardson<\/strong>\r\n<h2>Every 10 years, the United States Census Bureau makes it a goal to count every single person in the United States, a lofty goal that requires every household to do their part in being counted. In 2010, the census reported that 74 percent of all households responded, but that still leaves 26 percent of people not included in the total.<\/h2>\r\nWhy does this matter? According to our local census Partnership Specialist Debbie Sizemore, \u201cPopulation affects everything including roads, bridges, infrastructure projects, schools, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers,\u00a0 disaster assistance, Headstart, Children\u2019s Health Insurance Program, Section 8 housing, SNAP benefits, senior citizens programming, foster care funds, WIC, technology services, low-income energy assistance, and so much more.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe emphasizes that the census is easy, safe, and important. You can respond by phone, online, or on the form.\u00a0 The questionnaire is short and has fewer than 10 questions and requires less than 10 minutes to complete. Answers are held confidential for 72 years and responses aren\u2019t shared with anyone for any reason.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis confidentiality extends to every person, group, and agency and includes DHHR, Section 8, Immigration & Customs, law enforcement, or anyone else,\u201d she said. \u201cThe results of the 1950 census haven\u2019t been released yet so when we say your information is confidential, it is.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe added that population numbers determine how many representatives we get in Congress and the US House of Representatives, and also how the district lines are drawn for the WV Legislature.\r\n\r\nMost importantly, population numbers also determine how funds are distributed around the state, and areas lose money for each person not counted for 10 years.\r\n\r\nLewisburg is leading the region for census response with a total of 61 percent of households responding. Alderson so far reports 19.8 percent, Falling Springs reports 23 percent, Ronceverte reports 54.4 percent, and White Sulphur reports 46.9 percent. The Greenbrier County response rate is 37 percent, the West Virginia response rate as of this week is 43.9 percent, and the National response rate if 56.3 percent.\r\n\r\nIf your household hasn\u2019t yet responded to the census, it\u2019s easy to do so online at www.census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.