MAYOR'S COLUMN: Why the Census matters to Bristol

Published on Sunday, 1 March 2020 20:26
Written by Ellen Zoppo-Sassu

March marks the kick-off of the city encouraging all of its residents to answer the census to ensure we have a complete count. Obtaining a full, fair, and accurate count of everyone is essential for representation and federal funding. Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census will be delivered to households between March 12-20. Once you receive that invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail.

In Bristol, I have asked the Bristol Cares Committee, comprised of social service and non-profit organizations, as well as the new Diversity Council, to lead the effort. Some of the ways the city will do outreach includes sending information via church bulletins, in the schools and libraries, and in city publications like the Parks & Recreation brochure. Thanks to the generosity of the Main Street Community Foundation, the city will also be producing a bilingual flyer that will be distributed to households and available at community events.

This weekend, City Marketing Director Dawn Nielsen and I delivered a box of “Made in Bristol” onesies to Bristol Hospital. These will be gifted to the next 50 babies who are born there, prior to April 1st, who are eligible to be counted in the 2020 census.

Here are some facts about who gets counted where:

Homeowners, Renters and Household Members with One Residence will be counted at their residence.

Temporary Residents, Vacationers, Multi-Home Owners and “Snowbirds”

Each housing unit will receive census mailers, but the “head of household” will respond using the address of their usual residence. Children under shared-custody will be counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time. In cases of equally-shared custody, children will be counted where they are present on April 1, 2020.

Residents of Group Facilities will be counted at the facility in which they are housed or living on Census Day.

Active Military Personnel and Families that are stationed at a military installation in the U.S., will be counted at their usual residence either on-base or off-base. If they are stationed overseas, they will be counted as part of the federally-affiliated overseas population. If they are stationed stateside but deployed overseas during the census, they will be counted at their usual residence in the U.S. If they are aboard a military vessel, they will be counted at either their usual U.S. residence or as a part of the federally-affiliated overseas population - depending on whether the vessel’s homeport is in the U.S. or overseas.

College and Boarding-School Students living on campus or in off-campus housing will be counted at school facilities or at their off-campus housing, even if they visit home on holidays and breaks. If they commute, they will be counted at their usual residence. If they are attending a school outside the U.S. and living abroad, they will not be counted. Boarding school students will be counted at their parents’ home.

Persons in Shelters and Those Experiencing Homelessness will be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. If they do NOT have a usual residence on April 1, 2020 but are staying at a temporary shelter or residence, they will be counted at that location.

Incarcerated Persons will be counted at the prison or jail in which they are incarcerated on April 1, 2020.

Bristol receives over $9 million in federal funds each year. Having an accurate and complete count will ensure that our community continues to be awarded these dollars based on our population and programs. For more information on the census, please visit .

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu is the mayor of Bristol.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column, Editorials, Letters on Sunday, 1 March 2020 20:26. Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2020 20:28.