The 2020 Census of Guam is ongoing and it is still as important as ever to respond and let your voice be heard. Participation in the census is not only your civic duty; it also affects the amount of federal funding our island receives and how our local leaders plan for the future. Census data impacts our daily lives, informing important decisions for services and infrastructure in our community, including health care, jobs, roads and housing programs. The statistics produced from the 2020 Census of Guam will help determine how — and where — federal funding gets spent each year for the next decade. It is critical to make sure everyone in every household gets counted.

While our community looks toward our island’s future, it is also important to consider our past. One way of doing that is by making sure the senior population on Guam is accounted for. Manåmko’ are the link from the past to the future of our people and the land. An accurate count of the elderly is essential, as the data and statistics collected on the aging and older population are crucial in informing policies and programs that affect them.

Several government and community programs that assist older adults receive at least part of their money through formulas based on the census count which help many people remain in their homes longer. Medicare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are some of the most well-known federal programs for older residents that rely on census data to help determine the eligibility of people to participate or to acquire funding.

A fair and accurate decennial census is also vital for people with disabilities. The 2020 Census of Guam asks questions about a person’s difficulty with specific daily living tasks (e.g., hearing, seeing, and memory) to produce statistics for this key demographic. These statistics are used by government agencies and local advocacy groups to monitor against discrimination, distribute funds, provide services, and develop programs for people with disabilities here in our island community.

According to Elizabeth Napoli, deputy director at the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority: “Census data is essential for planning and addressing housing shortages, particularly for the elderly and persons with physical disabilities requiring ADA-accessible units who face challenges with finding such housing.” Napoli also emphasized how updated information from the 2020 Census of Guam can provide an insight into the current rental markets which would help GHURA with providing affordable housing to the people they serve.

The older generation are respected for their roles as teachers and leaders in our community. An inaccurate count in the 2020 census could significantly impact programs manåmko’ need to continue to share their wisdom and guidance for future generations. You have the power to watch over them, as they have watched over you for years.

Call 645-2020 to respond to the 2020 Census today.

Nolan Miles is a partnership clerk, 2020 Census of Guam.

Post Guam Article: 2020 Census of Guam: Valuing manåmko’

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