ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — In just over a month, the process of counting all residents in the United States will get underway.

The Constitution requires that the Census be taken every 10 years, and it determines how much federal money local programs receive.

Marco Lenis from Northern Illinois University’s Business Accelerator program said it’s important that Latino immigrants, regardless of citizenship status, participate in this year’s Census.

Lenis says every person counts, especially since many of the federal funds go toward education programs like English as a Second Language (ESL) and medical services.

“If you are documented or undocumented, this is private information that the Census Bureau always works with to allocate money,” Lenis said. “We need 100 percent of the Latino community to be counted.”

The Census data collected is confidential. No questions are asked regarding citizenship status.

Oregon High School senior Abigail Duke is hoping to get some of that money when she goes to college next year.

She wants to be a nurse, and expects that she’ll spend $22,000 a year to get her degree.

Her hope is that every household fills out the Census questionnaire, so programs that could help her continue to get the required funding.

“I believe that a lot of people our age do tend to think it doesn’t impact them, that it’s not really important,” Duke said. “But it is, because it will impact them for the next ten years of their lives.”

Oregon High School teacher Aaron Sitze said, “I don’t think people realize, but it they have a 5-year-old right now, the filing of the Census this year is going to be until that kid is a sophomore in high school, so really, this is the future of many of our children’s next ten years.”

The Census can be filled out starting March 12th.

It has 9 questions which can be completed online, by phone, or by mail. For sample questions, click here.


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