The 2020 U.S. Census is a little less than seven months away. Census Day will be observed nationwide April 1st, 2020. But preparations are already underway.

U.S. Census Bureau workers have started going around to homes in our area. They're verifying addresses and residence locations, which helps ensure an accurate census count.

"If a census taker is coming and they're properly identified with a tag, I think the best advice we can give to residents of the towns, for their town's best interest is to cooperate with census takers," said Carbon County commissioner, Bill O'Gurek.

Commissioners are encouraging all residents to participate in the 2020 Census.

"The data they're taking isn't to mind somebody else's business, it's to get accurate data," added O'Gurek.

The census provides critical information used to divert billions of dollars to communities nationwide.

"In order for a municipality to get funding, they have to have over 4,000 residents in their municipality and meet the distressed community list," said David Bodnar, Carbon County's director of planning and development.

In 2010, Lansford missed out on close to $90,000 because of an inaccurate census count.

"$90,000 for a 10-year period for a borough like Lansford is an enormous amount of money." said O'Gurek.

Census figures are also given to states when it comes time to redraw congressional districts.

"The state gets its total population and divides it by the number of senators and representatives we have and that averages what each district should represent," said O'Gurek.

Over the next few weeks, you may see census workers out in the community. If one stops by your home, you can verify their identity by checking for a valid ID badge.

"I would encourage property owners and residents to cooperate with census enumerators, or census takers," said O'Gurek.

By April 1st of next year, residents will receive a mailed invitation to participate in the census. Once it arrives, you should respond either by mail, by phone or online.

To learn more, you can visit the official Census 2020 website.