The U.S. Census comes but once every 10 years, and its effects are felt far and wide.


As basic as the tallying of every person in the United States sounds, the implications of the Census are profound. How many federal dollars are received by states and towns? The Census helps the government decide. How many U.S. representatives does each state have? The Census shows the way.


Thankfully, if you haven’t responded to the Census yet, the deadline has been extended to the end of October. (That’s what it was originally until the Trump administration tried to cut the count short; a judge strongly disagreed with the move.) So you still have time to stand up and be counted. Your mere presence here, in this state, in this moment, will help so many around you.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are three basic ways to respond.


First, you can fill out an online form at my2020census.gov. You will need a 12-digit Census ID that was either mailed to you or left at your residence.


Don’t have that number or web access? No problem. You can simply call to be counted. The main number for 50 states and Washington, D.C., is (844) 330-2020. If you would prefer to respond in Spanish, you can call (844) 468-2020.


There are other languages and options available, all at https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html.


Finally, if you haven’t responded online or by phone, you can also return a form mailed to your residence. As the Bureau notes: "The outer envelope's return address will say "U.S. Census Bureau" and "U.S. Department of Commerce," which is the Census Bureau's parent agency."


Over the summer, if you didn’t respond using any of these methods, Census takers may have tried to contact you. They are simply trying to collect the same information through in-person means. You can learn more about them at 2020census.gov/en/census-takers.html.


It all comes down to this, folks.


As of Saturday, only 69.6% of Kansans have self-responded to the Census. The Bureau hopes to cover the rest through nonresponse follow-up (those in-person visits we just mentioned), but it’s far easier and more accurate if they hear from you directly.


We will feel the impacts of this count for the next decade. It will affect our daily lives and representation in the halls of power. Make sure you and your family and friends are counted. Make sure everyone you know understands the importance of this moment.