The 2020 Census is still a ways down the road, but Grayson County officials are attempting to make sure everyone knows about the financial impact a good census can make for the county.In that effort, officials held a meeting this week for leaders in some of the smaller communities in the County to help them get a jump start on the process.


The meeting included mayors of many of the smaller towns in the area as well as leaders from local colleges and school district, and with those people in attendance, officials hope to be able to better get the word out about the count’s importance.


“This meeting was to inform another group of people on the importance of getting an accurate count for the 2020 Census,” said Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James who is heading the county’s census efforts for 2020.


In an email, James said that the 2020 Census has many changes and explanations of those came at the meeting.


“This time it can be done electronically, by phone or by paper,” the email said. “Maps will help us target areas not counted this time. All college students will be counted at the college that they attend rather than their parents residence. Federal dollars come to Grayson County per person counted in the Census.”


There are a number of programs and grants that are use census data to determine payments, so the county wants everyone counted, she said.


Of course getting counted can be kinda of strange to some people. If someone shows up at the door asking questions, people might be a bit put off. But, as James explained, a lot of it will be done online and most people, these days, are accustomed to doing things online.


This is just one of several meetings the county will have as the census gets closer and James and others attempt to make sure the process goes smoothly here in Grayson County.


“I commend Commissioner James for being proactive and spearheading Grayson County’s efforts to get this ball rolling,” Texoma Council of Governments Public Information and Media Manager Sean Norton said. “The US Census Bureau needs the assistance of everyone at the local and regional level to advocate for and build awareness of next year’s count.”


As it gets nearer to National Census Day, Norton hopes to see, “a much stronger support and concerted effort by all of our area officials and leaders to ensure as accurate a count as possible.” He said some of the information presented at the meeting showed one of the challenges that the county and communities will face “is growing apathy or disinterest in the process altogether.”


Norton believes that can be addressed by focusing the messaging on the positive impacts that can come from a higher response rate. He also said another difficulty that they will face is communication with communities like the homeless and the immigrant populations.


“As I’m sure you are aware, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the citizenship question soon – and unless we have members of the complete count committee who already have established trust and rapport in the Hispanic community, we will continue to face the challenge in increasing their participation in this process. There’s a great opportunity for TCOG to develop and implement strategies which will provide support to area jurisdictions in reaching some of the communities and populations we serve who may otherwise not be as likely to participate,” he said.


What do you think about a citizenship question being a part of the upcoming census report? Let Editor Jerrie Whiteley know at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.