2020 Census starts in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta

by Vivian Korthuis, AVCP CEO

2020 is a census year. Toksook Bay is where it all begins, on January 21, 2020. It is exciting and an honor to have Toksook Bay lead the whole country to kick off the 2020 Census. It will be a good start to a nation-wide effort. Our region welcomes the U.S. Census Director, Dr. Steven Dillingham, and his staff to our region, to our villages, and our homes.

Every tribal government, tribal organization, municipal government, regional private and Native non-profit service provider, as well as key organizations and their leadership in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta understands the importance of the 2020 Census in determining the official count in every one of our villages along the Kuskokwim River, Yukon River, and Bering Sea coast.

Thank you for all the preparation, media, encouragement, and leadership our region has provided, in order to make sure everyone in our region is accounted for. We all need to contribute to the message that the “Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Counts!”

It is important that everyone gets accounted for in the upcoming year when census workers visit our villages and knocks on our doors. Once the Census begins in January, it will continue from Toksook Bay to every one of the communities in our region and throughout the State of Alaska. A complete and accurate count is critical in our villages particularly because it determines the federal funding we receive for every community in the YK Delta.

Federal funding is important because it opens doors to key infrastructure projects and essential services to our villages. Right now, this is especially important, when you consider the times we are living in – a time where our state is in a recession and facing uncertainty due to fiscal challenges.

So it is especially important for community and regional leaders to take advantage of this time; to be engaging in the Census, so that every one of us has the opportunity to be counted and we receive the distributions of funding that is appropriate for the size of our rapidly growing region. We won’t get another opportunity to be counted for another ten years.

Participation in the census survey is easy and quicker than ever before. There are just ten questions.

Whether the survey is mailed to your house or conducted in person by a survey taker, you’ll be asked to provide very basic information about your household. You will be asked about the number of people living at your address, their names, genders, dates of birth, the ethnicity of each person, as well as whether you rent or own your home. That’s it.

This information will not go anywhere, since all census data is 100% confidential.

The next census will take place in 2030. Let’s make a difference now and make sure everyone on the YK Delta counts!

Vivian Korthuis is the CEO for the Association of Village Council Presidents.