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A win to the fourth power

Two of the key points that we stress when talking about the importance of each person being accounted for in the 2020 census are:

  1. 1. Personal details like name and address are not revealed until 72 years later. 

The census, required by the Constitution, started in 1790. The use of the information is statistical only, like the number of people living in Franklin County, how many are adults, how many are 16 years old, and so forth. 

The immigration status is never addressed. As a matter of fact, it is simply never asked because it is not relevant to the purpose of the census. 

Only census employees have access to personal information and if they do look at it, it is simply to make sure each person is counted in the right place and only counted one time.

  1. 2. It is actually wonderful the personal records will be released in 2092. 

Why? Because every one of us is interested in our heritage, including our children, their children and beyond. 

If you do not complete the 2020 census, when your offspring look at the released records in 2092 and later, they will not find you or your family. You will have not existed, and the same goes for any other member of your household. 

That would be a terrible disservice to them and your other ancestors.

To illustrate, I will use my own personal situation.

Since I was born in March 1930, census records from 1930 and 1940 were released in 2002 and 2012, which is precisely 72 years after recorded. I can look forward to 2022, when the 1950 records will be revealed.

I looked up the 1930 records. It appears that my parents, living in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on the April 1 census date, did not participate. 

Had they done so, I would have been 2 weeks old and reported as “0” years old, born in Bartlesville. 

I am disappointed. I wish I knew why they were not counted. It seems so unusual because they always strived to do their civic and community duties.

The good news is the 1940 records are right there. At the time my parents were living in Sweetwater, Texas, at 604 12th St. My father was 44 years old, and my mother was 42. My oldest sister, Helen, was 21. Her younger sister, Dorthe, was 18, and my brother, Jim, was 15. I was 10. 

Sure enough, it says I was born in Oklahoma. 

I found out where each of my siblings as well as my parents had been born. It brought back fond memories and pleasant mental pictures. 

All of those family members cited above have died. I have revived precious memories – but I still harbor a sense of loss about the missing 1930 records.

Consequently, I am both glad and sad.

We believe you owe yourself the respect you deserve, as well as the respect and consideration of your family or your family-to-be. You will express those sentiments as well as fulfill your obligations to your fellow residents by doing the census promptly, just as soon as the count starts in the latter part of March 2020.

If you do that, you win, your family wins, the community wins and our nation wins. That is a win to the fourth power! 

It’s an opportunity for sure – just waiting for you to seize the moment.

By Richard Rowland