The upcoming U.S. Census is of incredible importance to Kansas and its communities.

Each and every person in the state must be counted and included. Not doing so — not tallying those who are here — could be disastrous. According to the state Department of Commerce: “The federal government will rely on data from the 2020 Census to guide the distribution of federal funding to states, localities and households across the nation. The impact of the accuracy of the 2020 Census on the fair, equitable distribution of these funds.”

Each Kansan, the department informs us, is worth about $2,082 per year in federal funding to our communities. And far from being nebulous “federal money,” those are dollars sent to Washington, D.C., by us, the taxpayers. It’s about getting our proper share of the tax revenue we send the government.

Or as the Commerce Department puts it, “If 1,000 Kansans are not counted, we lose $15,390,000.”

Overall, according to a fact sheet prepared by the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy, more than $6 billion were allocated to Kansas in fiscal year 2016 through 55 federal programs guided by 2010 Census data. Those included direct federal spending on individuals and families, tax credits and procurement programs.

Believe it or not, that’s just the start. The count is also used to determine political representation on both the state and federal levels. Redistricting can lead to protracted wrangling in both the statehouse and courts, so we hope that officials take a responsible take this go round and turn to some type of independent body to oversee the process.

To even arrive at that point, we must first make sure that every Kansan is counted. Invitations to participate should arrive by April 1, with options to be counted through online, phone or mail means. All responses are confidential and protected under U.S. law.

The survey has become something of a political football in the last couple of years, with the Trump administration at one point attempting to include a citizenship question — a move that would have likely dampened participation among some communities. The Census is not, it should be noted, a count of citizens; it is a count of residents.

After protracted legal wrangling, that question was pulled from the Census. And that means we can move forward with the count as it’s supposed to be administered: a nonpartisan effort to accurately count each and every person in the country.