Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village aim for high participation in 2020 census

Residents should get mailed invitations to respond to the census starting March 12, according to U.S. Census Bureau officials. (Graphic by Chelsea Peters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents should get mailed invitations to respond to the census starting March 12, according to U.S. Census Bureau officials. (Graphic by Chelsea Peters/Community Impact Newspaper)

Residents should get mailed invitations to respond to the census starting March 12, according to U.S. Census Bureau officials. (Graphic by Chelsea Peters/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Here are some important dates in the census process. (Graphic by Chelsea Peters/Community Impact Newspaper)
As the April 1 kickoff of the 2020 U.S. Census nears, officials are working toward one common goal: a complete, accurate count of the population.

Responses to the census will help determine where more than $675 billion of federal funds will be allocated toward various fields, including infrastructure and public education.

Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village leaders have partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to form Complete Count Committees in an effort to increase awareness and participation on the census.

“It takes about 10 minutes to fill out the census, and people taking those 10 minutes will make a difference in the community for the next 10 years,” said Kent Boring, chair of the city of Lewisville’s Complete Count Committee.

A decade of impact

Beyond the allocation of federal funds, the census also helps determine how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the number of electoral college votes each state gets.

Boring, who is also the community outreach specialist for the city of Lewisville, said he has heard Texas could potentially gain a few seats in the House due to population growth.

Texas receives the third-most federal funds allocated among U.S. states, according to census data. But the state could lose $300 million if its population is undercounted by even 1%, according to the Texas Demographic Center.

Participation will affect communities on a local level, too. Census data helps determine how City Council districts are drawn and how much federal funding school districts get.

“Whether or not we get high participation and an accurate count of our community will have lasting impacts at every level,” Boring said. “Everything that we do as a city kind of hinges on that.”

Amanda Brim, Lewisville ISD’s chief communications officer, said the district is doing all it can to inform students and parents about the census’s impact on public education.

“With millions of dollars in federal funding at stake, Lewisville ISD knows an accurate count in the upcoming census is vital to the future success of our district and communities as well as our voice in government,” Brim said. “Many people are unaware data collected from the census helps determine funding for Title I grants, special education grants, free and reduced-cost lunch and more. LISD, alongside our cities and Denton County, intends to be a leader in ensuring an accurate population count for the 2020 census.”

Reaching hard-to-count populations

The cities of Lewisville and Denton have some of the highest concentrations of historically “hard-to-count” populations in Denton County, said Bianca Gamez, media specialist with the Dallas Regional Census Center.

Immigrants, college students, children under age 5, homeless people, people who face language barriers, families who move frequently and people with mental or physical disabilities are all considered to be hard to count, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bureau statistics show that both Flower Mound and Highland Village saw relatively high participation in the 2010 census, with self-response rates of 84% and 86%, respectively.

In comparison, 72% of Lewisville residents responded to the census that same year.

“So in Lewisville, we do have more of some of the hard-to-count populations,” Gamez said. “So we are forming partnerships in those communities with nonprofits, community groups, local governments and other institutions to make sure not just the hard-to-count populations are counted but that everyone is counted.”

Stephen Thomas, director of the Salvation Army of Lewisville and a member of the Complete Count Committee, said he has provided census workers with a heat map of where people experiencing homelessness usually gather so they do not miss anyone in the count.

“We’re committed to getting everyone counted to yield the highest benefit for all of us,” Thomas said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic and Latino residents are also often hard-to-count, partly because they often face language barriers. These residents also tend to be more suspicious over how census data is used, which also makes them more likely to be undercounted, the bureau stated.

Gamez said that every resident should rest assured that all individual census data is kept confidential. She said that every census worker takes an oath to do so. Any workers who break that oath would be fined $250,000 and face potential jail time.

“We’re the data nerds of the government,” she said. “Our job is just to collect data and provide it from an economic perspective, from a population perspective.”

What to expect

Residents should get mailed invitations to respond to the census starting March 12.

Those who do not respond will receive several reminder postcards before being visited by a census worker.

Gamez said the bureau will actually be able to track which households have not responded so it can send workers out to get in-person responses.

“This is going to be a big census for us. We just want to make sure that everyone is out and involved in their communities helping out and that we’re all working together to get them counted.”
By Anna Herod
Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment as the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. In the past, Anna served as the reporter for Community Impact's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle paper. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Bae’s Kitchen opened Sept. 1 in Lewisville. (Courtesy Bae's Kitchen)
Bae's Kitchen now serving burgers, cheesesteaks, milkshakes in Lewisville

The restaurant serves a variety of burgers, cheesesteaks, fried chicken, patty melts, beef tacos and other items.

An estimated 3,500 trees were destroyed by last October's tornado. (Olivia Lueckemeyer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Free trees: Replace those lost in Richardson tornado and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Peters Colony Road roundabout in Flower Mound open to traffic

The $1.1 million project connects Peters Colony Road, Quail Run Road and Auburn Drive.

building with construction vehicle out front
RiverWalk Flats apartment community coming soon to Flower Mound

The apartment community for active adults in Flower Mound features a variety of amenities.

Nearly 47% of Denton County registered voters have cast ballots early so far

With eight days of early voting remaining, Denton County has already logged more than a quarter of a million ballots cast.

Home furnishings retailer Living Spaces has opened a store in Fort Worth and will offer a variety of designer collections, including Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines. (Courtesy Living Spaces)
Living Spaces opens in Fort Worth and more DFW-area news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. (Courtesy Pexels)
Tackling Texas' vote-by-mail system: Applying, delivering, tracking your ballot

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Outdoor Warehouse Supply to purchase driving range for headquarters, distribution center to Lewisville

Outdoor Warehouse Supply plans to purchase the Hank Haney Golf Ranch at Vista Ridge facility and redevelop it for its headquarters and principal location.

Construction on Main & Mill is expected to begin in January. (Rendering courtesy city of Lewisville, AMAC Holdings)
Old Town Lewisville’s new $35 million development Main & Mill one step closer to construction

Construction will start in January on Main & Mill, which will include 202 luxury, loft-style apartments as well as 8,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and office space.

There are currently six potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates, according to Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson. Of those six, five will require the patient to take two doses. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Denton County COVID-19 active cases on the rise; officials prepare for vaccine distribution

Richardson updated the court on the state’s latest change in how case numbers are reported as well as the county's preparations for vaccine distribution once it becomes available.

Early voting in Denton County runs through Oct. 30. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than a third of Denton County registered voters have cast ballots early

The first seven days of early voting saw 185,825 ballots cast in person, according to the latest figures from Denton County election officials.