With billions in state-shared revenues, Congressional representation, and emergency preparedness at stake, local and regional leaders encouraged every resident to participate during an official countdown to Census 2020. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the City of Phoenix conducted the regional launch event on April 1, 2019—exactly one year in advance of the official Census Day of April 1, 2020. The event included the release of the region’s unifying message to encourage participation among all residents through the simple phrase: iCount 2020. The census counts everyone living in the U.S. every 10 years. It plays a major role in the quality of life in communities. It determines the number of seats each state gets in Congress. The number of people counted shapes decisions about how public funds are spent for roads, schools, hospitals, and emergency services for communities. “The financial impact to local governments by an accurate census count is monumental, specifically, the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds annually, and we only get one opportunity to count everyone,” said City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Once residents realize their participation means dollars that are invested into programs and services important to them, we believe they will make the Census a priority,” she said. In Arizona, about $20 billion in state shared revenues are divided based on population—equating to nearly $3,000 per person, per year, to fund critical programs and services. MAG Chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek, noted that MAG represents a diverse region of 27 cities and towns, three Native nations, and two counties. “The bottom line: people equal prosperity,” said Mayor Barney. “And as the fastest-growing county in the nation, it becomes even more important to accurately capture that growth. We must ensure that we receive our true total share of funding.” Cathy Lacy, director of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Denver Region, told the audience that responding to the 2020 Census will be easier than ever before. “We have three ways you can respond to the 2020 Census—online, by mail or by phone,” said Lacy. She noted that April 1, 2020, is the day every resident of the U.S. will be asked to fill out a census form. Just before that date, most households will get an invitation to respond in the mail. “Next year, when you respond to the census, be sure to count everyone living in your home on April 1. Everyone counts, including children and newborn babies,” said Lacy. Lacy also noted that the Census Bureau is now hiring for a variety of jobs. More information at www.2020census.gov/jobs. Responding to the census is easy, important and safe! Easy Responding to the 2020 Census will be easier than ever before. There will be three ways you can respond—online, by mail or by phone. The Census Bureau encourages everyone to respond online, if possible. If you don’t have Internet access, don’t worry—you can respond by mailing back a paper questionnaire, or by calling the toll-free number that will be made available. The online instrument and questionnaire assistance will be available in 12 languages other than English, including Spanish. The paper form will be available in English and Spanish, while language guides will be available in 59 languages. Important Your response matters. It shapes our future. Your response influences decisions about how public funds are spent for roads, schools, fire/emergency services, and healthcare for your community. Census results also determine how many seats each state gets in Congress. State and local officials use census counts to redraw boundaries for congressional districts and state legislative districts. Safe Your responses are safe and secure. Your response to the census is confidential and protected by law. Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your information for life. The Census Bureau will not share your responses with immigration or law enforcement agencies. If you respond online, your answers are encrypted to protect your privacy. You can follow the regional efforts on Facebook.com/iCount2020official , Twitter @iCount2020 and Instagram @iCount2020Official. Use #iCount2020 to learn more about Census 2020.