City officials anticipate some residents’ fears over privacy, but they said respondents’ census data is meant “purely for informational and funding purposes” and that it’s a felony to wrongfully disclose individuals’ data. Varney added that the census is likely less invasive than one’s presence on social media. She explained that the form doesn’t ask for the applicant’s citizenship status or Social Security number.
More census events are in the works at the library and senior center, and the Chaldean Community Foundation also expects to hop aboard the campaign. To further help spread the word, a costumed bee mascot called Sterling B. Counted will attend community events to promote awareness. Some Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation buses will be wrapped with census-reminder messages, she added.
Varney said city officials hope to recruit volunteer “census ambassadors” to spread the word about the census and its importance. She said ambassadors can do this by sharing social media posts, displaying posters or door hangers, and more.
She said ambassadors could help reach out to undercounted demographics, which include homeless people, children younger than age 5, single-parent households, renters, college students and people who experience language barriers.
“We need everyone’s help,” she said.
Learn more about Sterling Heights’ preparations for census 2020 and how to become a census ambassador by visiting www.sterling-heights.net/census2020 or by calling (586) 446-2489.