Source: Palm Beach Post

Florida derives one-third of its budget from census-based federal funding. If we don’t get counted, we don’t count.

Now that National Census Day, April 1, has passed, it is still vital for every person to be counted.

>>>Related content: Editorial: Too many Floridians went uncounted in the 2010 census. We can’t let it happen again.

Census represents the core of our democracy and our equality as Americans, as each and every individual living in the U.S. counts exactly the same. Just 10 minutes spent answering the nine questions on the 2020 Census, can change the next 10 years for you, your families, your local community and the state of Florida. People across America are trying to keep their families and communities safe and healthy. Responding to the census yourself — online, by phone, or through the mail — is another way to do your part to help keep your families and communities strong. The U.S. Census Bureau will continue to accept the 2020 Census questionnaires until end of October.

As we watch our courageous front-line medical personnel fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confronted daily that each and every life counts. In these difficult times we see how our health and safety depends on government programs. By completing your Census you will assure that our fair share of these programs will be devoted to Florida and to our local communities. You will be shaping your future and the future of our communities. The Census is easy to complete; your information is absolutely protected; and it is very important that every individual living in Florida, regardless of your status, is counted in the 2020 Census.

Florida derives one-third of its budget from census-based federal funding. If we don’t get counted, we don’t count. And we’ll miss out for the next 10 years. In the 2010 Census, Florida experienced the omission of 1.4 million people, costing the state $20 billion in lost funding between 2010 and 2020. So far, overall Census responses are behind where they were in 2010. In the U.S., 50.5% of the population has responded, about 10 percentage points below the same time in 2010. Florida is slightly below the U.S. average at 48.7% but that does not tell the whole story. In Palm Beach County, for example, 49.3% of the people have completed the Census to date. Many Florida counties are as much as 50% below the average response rate.

Our coalition, Florida Counts Census 2020 has made grants to 45 nonprofits throughout Florida who are conducting the hard work of outreach to their communities in this era of physical distancing. They and Florida Counts will be using digital, phone, social media and other methods to help people complete their Census. Amplify our message to your families, communities and social networks: Be counted and complete your 2020 Census. The future depends on it.