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Snowmobiles & dog sleds: The lengths U.S. Census workers go to

For Toksook Bay, Alaska, the Census starts early

U.S. Census workers on a snowmobile
U.S. Census workers on a snowmobile

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The results of the U.S. Census, which is taken once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed to states and communities every year to ease overcrowded classrooms and create new roads.

Across most of America, including Florida, Census forms don’t go out until mid-March. But some places are hard to reach.

It has been more than 200 years since the first U.S. Census was taken, but you couldn’t tell when it comes to counting every Alaskan. U.S. Census Bureau workers will travel by plane, on foot and even by dog sled and snowmobile to reach the furthest points of our nation. That means for some towns -- such as Toksook Bay, Alaska -- the Census starts early.

“Tooksook Bay isn’t the easiest place to get to and the temperature is cold, but while people are in the village, we want to make sure they get counted,” said U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, center in blue jacket, rides behind Dennis Kashatok, left, as they arrive to conduct the first enumeration of the 2020 Census Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Toksook Bay, Alaska. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (Associated Press)

There are no restaurants, motels or movie theaters in Toksook Bay. There’s not even a road.

But if there are people to count, the U.S. Census Bureau will be there.

"The nation is engaged, we are prepared and the 2020 Census is underway,” Dillingham said.

Now, unless you are in a remote village removed from the rest of the country, the process for everyone else starts in mid-March and is much easier than in Toksook Bay. That means, come March, expect to either receive a letter, a call or even a knock on your door to take your information.

And make sure to watch out for scammers. The U.S. Census Bureau just needs to count you. It doesn’t want your money.

About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.