This is serious, South Florida: Time to be counted for census running out

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – With the pandemic already hampering outreach, the United States Census Bureau moved up the response deadline from October to September meaning that all responses have to be in by Sept. 30.

Community groups are now desperate to make sure that every person in South Florida is counted. What’s at stake? Plenty, especially federal dollars and political clout in Washington, D.C.

The Census 2020 deadline is only days away. The last day is Sept. 30. It’s a 10-minute form with a decades-long impact.

And, with just one week to go, organizations like the United Way of Miami-Dade and Florida Counts are working to boost response rates.

“In 2010, Miami-Dade County missed (what we) estimate (costs) over $2 billion and now Miami-Dade County, at this point, is 5 points under where they were in 2010,” Susan Racher of Florida Counts said.

Here’s what’s at stake. The data underpins billions of dollars in federal money that supports a variety of programs: Medicaid and Florida’s Food Assistance Program, SNAP, free and reduced lunch programs in schools. The money also counts for funding for schools, city and state roads and social services. And the list goes on including mental health funding, children’s health programs, COVID-19 testing sites, agricultural support, small business loans, disaster relief, and on and on.

“It is quite significant,” Christina Blanco of United Way of Miami-Dade County said.

The data also guides decisions like where to build new hospitals or schools and, significantly, Florida’s political representation.

“With 100 percent count, we would gain a number of representatives in Washington, D.C.,” Blanco said.

Racher said: “(The data) drives the number of electoral votes and electoral college representation. The census really defines both our democracy as well as the quality of our life.”

A spokesperson from the U.S. Census said: “The best place to see the latest response rates for your area is at the link below. You can drill town to your county and city to see the most recent numbers. Also, when you hover over an area you will see the final 2010 response rates for that particular area.”

Check the data here.

You can complete the census online at my2020census.gov, or easily complete it over the telephone before the closing deadline on Sept. 30. To complete it in English, call (844) 330-2020; Spanish, call (844) 468-2020; and Haitian Creole, call (844) 477-2020.

More information from The Children’s Trust:

Per text and email from The Children’s Trust:

As of Wednesday, Sept. 23

Florida Response Rate is at 63%

Miami-Dade is at 61.6%

  • Florida is currently considered a state in the bottom 10 in terms of response rate with only 89.8% of households counted.

Consider these national statistics, as of September 14:

  • 75% of predominantly Black tracts have rates lower than in 2010.
  • 74% of predominantly Hispanic tracts have rates lower than in 2010.
  • 58% of predominantly Asian tracts have rates lower than in 2010.
  • 54% of tracts that are predominantly non-Hispanic Whites have lower rates than in 2010.

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