Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and community leaders urged residents to participate in the 2020 census during a press conference Wednesday. 

The federal government conducts the census every 10 years to count the number of people living in the country. Numbers from that tally are pivotal to deciding how legislative districts are drawn, how many seats Kentucky has in the House of Representatives, and how much federal aid the state receives. 

“It’s really about a whole lot more than just filling out our survey,” Fischer said. “This is real life, day-to-day, where the rubber meets the road, kind of stuff that we may not think ties to the census – but the census is what drives this.”

This is the first year the census will be available online for residents to complete, and Fischer said community organizations will help to ensure everyone is counted. Some residents may fear participating in the census because of their immigration status or citizenship, although the U.S. Census Bureau cannot use census information against participants and the Supreme Court struck down the U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the census

Americana World Community Center Executive Director Edgardo Mansilla said all residents should participate, regardless of their status.

“Documentation is no problem. You are [a] resident — it’s all that counts,” Mansilla said. “If we can pass this [message] along, we will have the numbers going up. And if we fail, no excuses.”

Metro Government Census Coordinator Catalina Cordova said the city will partner with community leaders to inform residents about the census and encourage them to participate. Census counting starts April 1, and the results will be finalized by the end of the year.