An initiative by several Florida organizations aims to raise $2 million to create an “accurate” census in this state, which lost approximately $20 billion in federal funding due to failures in the last national census count.
So far, the “Florida Counts Census 2020” initiative, promoted by organizations such as the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Florida Philanthropy Network and the Community Foundation, among others, has raised more than $1 million to be distributed among community groups.
“So far, Florida Counts has taken on this role, given the inadequacy of state and local funding to do this work,” Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Susan Racher said in a statement Friday.
Florida, with over 20 percent Latinos, is the third largest state in the country in population and the fourth fastest growing, so an accurate count is “essential” for receiving its fair share of state funding.
On January 6th, the state of Florida announced the appointment of a statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2020 census, which will be held next April.
Each year some $800 billion in federal funding is allocated based on the census, which is then spent on education and improving infrastructure and transportation.
Florida has the third largest number of omissions in the 2010 census, with 1.4 million people removed, according to these organizations’ data.
For every individual who is not counted, the state loses $1,445 per year and also loses political representation in Congress.
For example, it is estimated that 16 states could gain or lose seats in the House of Representatives based on a correct count in the 2020 census.
Proponents of this initiative claim that Florida is one of only 11 states that has never budgeted for funding to ensure an accurate population count.
“We are asking donors, businesses and individuals to contribute to our resubsidy pool so that key nonprofit community organizations can be trained and have the resources to conduct critical community outreach in the months leading up to the census,” said Racher.
Once every decade, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every resident in the country, and the next count on April 1 will be the first that will depend significantly on online responses.