A U.S. Census form will show up in your mailbox sometime soon. The forms are mailed in mid-March, and you’re supposed to fill them out and return them April 1.

Why is participating in the census important?

Accurate population counts are necessary in the event of public health or natural disasters — responders need to know how many people are affected when estimating how much help and money to send.

It also affects politics. If communities are undercounted, it could prevent them from receiving accurate representation in the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress.

Besides that, census numbers are used to make economic estimates for businesses, researchers and lawmakers.

The State of Texas won’t spend any money on advertising and promotion of the census; it is the largest state that’s refusing to promote the census.

Because of that, it is probable that low-income areas and communities of color in Texas will be undercounted, thus ensuring less representation and financial benefit.

But you can help. Learn how to get involved with the census at a community meeting next week. Meet with census representative Cynthia Cruz at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 18 at Anderson Hall at Tyler Street Church.