By Mike Cazalas
News Herald Editor
People matter in a number of ways, including in terms of federal funding. If we are counting on receiving proper funding, then, we better make sure we count every person living here because if you come up on short on your count, that’s what the funding will reflect.
It is not easy and the omissions are many. They include immigrants, here legally and not, whose struggles with English or aversion to authorities might have kept them away. And there were others who were hard to reach or hesitant to respond: transients, elderly folks, renters, snowbirds, college students living on campuses.
Florida as a whole had the third-worst census participation of all the states in 2010. Our state lost out on about $20 billion in federal funding because the census omitted an estimated 1.4 million residents — about 7.5% of the actual population.
And yet Florida is mounting no official effort to ensure residents’ participation in the 2020 census. Florida is among 24 states that have nothing on U.S. Census-related efforts and one of only five states that have failed to form a committee to raise awareness about the count, according to a recent report by the New York Times.
There are federal dollars we lose to other states and federal dollars make up one-third of Florida’s total governmental revenue.