Laredo census office grand opening

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Our nation is reliant on data in order to move forward, and that's why every ten years a federal agency recruits citizens to identify every person residing in the United States.

Hundreds of billions of dollars is distributed to states and communities once the federal government gets their hands on the census data. This data gives them an idea of the lifestyle millions of Americans are living in.

"We're right now currently serving 130,000 individuals per month,” said Camilla Sosa, the marketing specialist of the South Texas Food Bank. “Our numbers keep growing and we're only really touching a small portion of the need right there."

The South Texas Food Bank is one of the many nonprofits in the nation that relies on money from the government in order to provide a basic necessity, like food to those less fortunate.

"You know for Kids Cafe, for SNAP, for the elderly which is the CSFP and all of these assistance programs that they get, comes from our population size so if we're undercounting then we're definitely going to be seeing a decrease in the money that's available to us,” Sosa explained.

When it comes to counting heads across the country, the border has the least people taking part in the count since many living here are typically undocumented. This creates a fear to speak up.

Jess Avina, Assistant Regional Census Manager in the Dallas region said, "Every census you want to county everybody. The biggest challenge here is for whatever reason, maybe people were afraid or whatever, we just missed a lot of people that were under 5. For this census we got to make sure that we count the children."

She says that in the 2010 census, nearly one million children were unaccounted for, leaving behind a big problem for the funding program that is supposed to help the youth.

“Ten years from now, if we miss them when they're five and they become fifteen, they're not going to have a school, so we want all those resources,” Avina said. “They're not going to have the roads or the healthcare they need to move on as adults, so the key is counting them and also everybody."

It's a process that takes no more than ten minutes. However, if one person misses out, then everybody else is affected as well.

The Laredo office will be covering thirty counties to the north, east, and south.

The census officially begins on April 1st, 2020.

All information in the census is confidential.

The census' biggest challenge is getting recruiters, so that's why they're making every effort to recruit.