Census response deadline September 30

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 6:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -The deadline for the 2020 census is just days away, but communities in North Florida and South Georgia are missing responses from nearly half its population.

According to the US Census, the self response rate in the Sunshine State is at 63 percent. Across the state line, participation is nearly 62 percent.

Funding for infrastructure and road projects, free meal programs and reduced school lunches, unemployment benefits and veterans programs are just a few that are impacted by the census.

“There are more than 140 programs that use formulas where population statistics weigh very heavily,” said Marilyn Stephens, Assistant Regional Census Manager.

Letters started going on for census response in March. But still many communities in the region are still dealing with low response rates.

Liberty, Franklin and Taylor Counties are all reported around 30-40 percent.

Census officials say much of that is because of the pandemic. Many educational and outreach programs had to be revamped in a now contactless world.

“We were all ready, we have the best plans ever, and then we didn’t have them,” Stephens said. “Everyone had to switch to virtual and having to revisit their programs, and how do we get the word out without having on on one contact.”

Census workers began knocking on doors last month. Those workers will be out in every community, especially those with low response rates, until the September 30 deadline.

Responses can be made online, or by phone. That information can be fund on the Census website.

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