by Barbara Joy Cooley
Far too few people have been responding to the 2020 Census – probably because their minds are occupied by the corona virus, and the Census seems unimportant by comparison. In reality, because of the virus, completing the Census is more important than ever.
Why? Because data from the 2020 Census will be used to decide on funding for schools, hospitals, and first responders like the fire department. Because of the corona virus, revenues for local governments have been drastically reduced. So these funding sources that rely on Census data will be increasingly important in the months and years to come. Data from the Census is used to determine how $645 billion in federal funding is allocated.
Data from the 2020 Census will also be used to determine how many seats our state is allocated in the U.S. House of Representatives. By completing the Census, Florida citizens are solidifying their power in Congress. Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S. This political clout is extremely important to being able to obtain much needed funding for projects like the Everglades restoration, which will greatly benefit water quality in the Caloosahatchee and our coastal waters.
This month, the U.S. Census bureau is following up in person with households that haven’t completed the census. If you haven’t done so already, make it easier for everyone; complete the census at my2020census.gov. If you have questions about how to accurately complete the form, see the list of frequently asked questions by scrolling down the web page at 2020census.gov.
If for some reason, you wish to take the Census by phone, call 1-844-330-2020. In mid-April, the Census Bureau began mailing paper questionnaires to households that had not yet responded online or by phone. You can see samples of all the mailings that the Census Bureau has sent out regarding the 2020 Census at https://2020census.gov/en/mailings.html
Completing the Census is a simple and solid way to be a good citizen and a good neighbor. Thank you if you have completed the Census; and if you haven’t, please do it now.