TYLER, Texas — The United States 2020 Census is more than a way to tell a community’s demographics or population.
“Political representation is divided up by census,” Nick Pesina said. “So if one area has grown a lot, there may be a new congressional district that encompasses that new area."
Pesina is the head of the Hispanic Outreach Subcommittee. It is one of six that makes up the Smith County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee.
“There's an African American Outreach, there is a Faith-based Outreach Committee, there is a Media Committee, there's a Non-profit Committee, Education Committee, and a Local Government Committee,” Pesina explained.
County elected officials and other community members make up the committee. Their goal is to make sure everyone fills out the document. “The census shapes your future, shapes our future," Pesina said.
After the 2010 census officials from the county felt they missed out on important things because of a lack of participation for the census.“The census controls two big, big things that impact all of us,” Pesina said.
The population numbers affect political representation, like how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes a state is allowed.
“Political representation is divided up by Census,” Pesina said. “If one area has grown a lot, there may be a new congressional district that encompasses that new area." It will also affect federal funding for roads, schools, and other public services.
“Whether a certain part of the country needs a road or a new health center, or educational programs, all of those decisions are made because you know, government funds,” Pesina explained. “Resources are limited, we want to make sure that those funds are targeted to the right areas.”
Every person in the U.S. regardless of citizenship or immigration status should take the census. There will be paper forms still, but for those first timers, the upcoming census will be available online or by phone.
Many can take it starting in March, but if someone does not have it filled out by April. They may get a visit from a door-knocker.
The population for Smith County in 2010 was 209,714. According to the United States Census Bureau, the county’s 2018 population was up by almost 10% to 230,221.
In Tyler, the last census found the population to be 96,900. Up by 9.1%, the population for 2018 was 105,728, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Pesina says Tyler is one of two cities in Texas to be getting younger with an average resident’s age being 33.