Everyone living in Guilford County needs to say so next year.

That’s the word the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to send out on Thursday, Aug. 15 when the board plans to vote to establish a Guilford County 2020 Census committee – meant to get word into all corners of the county, and into all of its communities, that it’s important for all Guilford County residents to be included.

The US Census is conducted once every 10 years and a greater number of people recorded as living in the county can mean more federal and state dollars for local programs.  Higher census numbers in Guilford County this year could lead to an added congressional seat for the area – and, therefore, to more power in Washington.

In this census, especially, some residents – such as illegal aliens – may be fearful of providing data for the census; however, county officials want to get a full, true and accurate count, which is why they’re establishing the new “Complete Count Committee,” a first for Guilford County.

According to information that’s been provided to county commissioners for their Aug. 15 meeting, the data collected by the census is “confidential and protected by law.”

According to a staff statement backing the committee, and included in the commissioners’ agenda packet for the meeting, “The census count requires extensive work and the Census Bureau requires partners at the state and local level to insure a complete and accurate count.  One way that county governments can support the Census Bureau is to establish a Complete Count Committee.  The Complete Count Committee, appointed by the Board of Commissioners, will bring together a cross section of community members who will utilize their local knowledge and expertise to reach out to all persons in the community.”

Guilford County will join many others in this effort: Complete Count committees have been and are being established by tribal, state and local governments across the US, “to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census.”  In 2010, there were more than 10,000 Complete Count committees formed for that census and there could be more this time around.

Anyone who wants to serve on the new county committee should be willing to do so until the census is complete, and one part of the job will be to come up with “a creative outreach campaign in areas that may pose a challenge in 2020.”

The new committee is likely to be large, with perhaps as many as 30 members.  County officials want the committee to include “persons from the areas of education, media, business, religion and community groups.”