The importance of the census and how you can fill yours out today

Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 16:59:30-04

Rebounding from the pandemic goes beyond what's happening right now. What will happen in the future is just as crucial. With the 2020 census underway, many are concerned the census will be miscounted due to the coronavirus. It's important now more than ever to make sure you're counted.

“Those of us in the community, when we think of census, the first thing we think about is “what’s in it for me,” said Marilyn Stephens, Assistant Regional Census Manager.

That’s the big question every 10 years. The answer?

“More than $675 billion in resources are allocated each year and in the funding formulas what reigns true for all of them are the population statistics. So the more people you have, the more resources you get,” said Marilyn.

Marilyn says the census data is used to determine the distribution of the billions of dollars for federally funded programs and it’s also the basis for distributing seats in the House of Representatives and in various state legislatures.

Florida for the 2010 census was very fortunate because it picked up two additional congressional seats, which means Florida increased it’s voice in congress.

“The bigger a states voice, the more resources those congressional representatives bring to the state which filter down through the counties, the cities and really through the streets of all of our community,” added Marilyn.

“We are living in an example of why we need the census. Why we need a more complete count. The money that we are getting from the federal government to fight this pandemic, rarely is determined by how many were counted ten years ago,” said Sandra Bernard-Bastien, Chief Communications Officer at Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is an organization that funds over 100 agencies and programs for children and families in the county.

Sandra says filling out the census helps the organizations they fund, provide more to the community.

“Because we are very much interested in our community, we want to make sure that they have the funds necessary to do everything that is possible for children and families. We all benefit,” added Sandra.

“All of these healthcare programs and more are dependent on having the best population statistics. The question will be for all of us, will our numbers support our needs over the next ten years,” said Marilyn.

Marilyn said a lot of people wonder if the information provided can be used against them, the answer is no. She says the census data is protected by two laws, you can find more details on the laws here.

To fill out the 2020 census, click here.