FAIR LAWN, NJ - Aside from an official count of citizens and residents, there's history hidden in the Census counts that happen once a decade.

The Census, which creates "statistics as a vital tool for measuring people, places, and economy," according to Census.gov, was a key to the past of former Mayor John Cosgrove.

"The Census helped me fill out my family tree," Cosgrove said. 

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It was the 1910 Census that helped him track down his ancestors on Ancestry.com.

"And yes, it helps with all the other important numbers," he said. "The number we use to determine representation, both on a state basis and at the federal level."

Additionally, those numbers are important to us locally.

"The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade," according to Census.gov. "That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location."

Think of your morning commute: Census results influence highway planning and construction, as well as grants for buses, subways, and other public transit systems. Or think of your local schools: Census results help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and for grants that support teachers and special education. The list goes on, including programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, to prevent child abuse, ... and to provide housing assistance for older adults.

Cosgrove co-chairs the Full Count committee with councilwoman Gail Rottenstrich. The current goal is to get 100 percent participation from Fair Lawn residents by Aug. 11, prior to when individuals will go door to door to ask people to fill out the paperwork that takes approximately five minutes to complete online.