CEO’s Message — March 2020

$883 Billion Is a Lot of Money

Headshot of Clay FitchCensus data helped 55 federal agencies decide where to spend $883,094,826,042 in 2016. That same year, Nevada received $6,219,293,623, which funded federal programs including education, rural health care, housing, transportation, Community Development Block Grants, adoption assistance and many, many more. For comparison, total state tax collections in 2016 were $8,025,046,000.

The decennial census is the once-a-decade population and housing count for all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The results of the census determine the number of seats for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

The census also measures the nation’s economy providing vital statistics for virtually every industry and geographic area in the country. For instance, census data is used to prove that the members of Wells Rural Electric Co. live in areas with a low population density. As a result, WREC qualifies for the Low-Density Discount from our wholesale electricity provider, Bonneville Power Administration, which saves you money on your electricity bill every single month.

Answering the census is safe, easy and important.

The law requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your information only to produce statistics. To protect your safety, the Census Bureau cannot publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you. Your information will never be shared with law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI or local police, or with immigration agencies such as ICE. Census workers must pass a background check and will always have identification badges. If you have any doubts, you can contact the Census Bureau to verify their identity.

To make responding easy, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail in mid-March with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 census. By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate. You can complete a census questionnaire by mail, by phone or online at

The goal of the census is to count every person once, only once and in the right place. An accurate count is so important to our communities that several local governments have formed “Complete Count Committees” to encourage every person to respond to the census.

If you haven’t completed a census questionnaire by June, census takers will go door-to-door to ensure everyone is counted. In northeastern Nevada, the Census Bureau has only been able to hire about 30% of the people needed to complete the count. If you are interested in working for the Census Bureau, additional information is available at If you are hired, the Census Bureau will provide all necessary training for free. Beware of any person who promises a job with the Census Bureau but asks you to pay for training.

As the 2020 census approaches, we will continue to share information about how you can make sure our community is fully represented. Visit anytime to get the latest news.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer