Filling out the census is especially important for Panola County, North East Texas Counts Representative Jennifer Edwards said.

“It affects almost everything that we do — the funding that we receive in our school districts, the funding that we receive for local health care and our veterans and our community colleges, and overall our roadways and everything that we do is supported by the numbers of people who are reported as living in the area,” Edwards said.

Edwards has been promoting the census in Panola, Shelby and Rusk Counties. Tuesday morning she, her husband and her daughter had a booth outside Carthage City Hall to meet with people and tell them how and why they should fill out the census.

“I’m promoting the census to make sure that our under counted populations, like Shelby, Rusk and Panola, are counted on the census because historically we haven’t received the numbers that we ought to.” Edwards said. “So it’s important now more than ever to receive that funding because especially with healthcare and schools, we want to make sure that our children have adequate access to education and also our older population in Panola County has access to adequate healthcare.”

Filling out the census is easy, Edwards said. There are three options: by mail, phone, or online. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes.

“Everyone received a mailing, so no matter if they live in a house, apartment, no matter what they received a mailing. If they did not receive a mailing, they have the option of taking the census online and reporting their living establishment. The census is even for individuals who live in established housing or even individuals who are homeless,” Edwards said. “It’s important for everyone to be counted.”

To fill out the census online, visit 2020census.gov. To fill it out by phone, call 1-844-330-2020. To fill it out by mail, simply fill out the form mailed to you and mail it.

After holding a pop-up event in Beckville before the one in Carthage, Edwards said the city saw a one-week increase from 12.7 percent to 28.6 percent completed surveys, exceeding the 2010 census overall completion for Beckville.