Northwest Floridians are being reminded that time is running out to complete their 2020 Census forms, with the deadline Sept. 30.
Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender adds that providing information to the Census leads to more efficient numbers-crunching.
“Completing the census means more education programs and housing assistance; better funding for public transportation and highway planning programs,” said Bender. “It also helps fund hospitals, fire departments, and other important services for our county.”
Bender concedes there are some out there who don’t feel it’s government’s place to conduct the every-10-year headcount. But he says an accurate census is important – especially at the grassroots level.
“As we look at the number of people in our local districts, in the county [an] city, areas, as we go to redraw those district lines next year, we want to try to even the districts out as much as possible,” Bender said. “It’s important to make sure that each commissioner is representing about the same number of people.”
One of the less-talked-about, but vitally important part of a census is its impact on the local economy beyond splitting up federal, state and local funding.
“There’s some businesses that don’t want to relocate somewhere or come someplace, if you don’t have a certain number of people,” said Bender. “So the density of those people and where they are is important for them to know in terms of businesses as well. We got [CARES Act] money based on the number of people we have in Escambia County. Of course if we had a more accurate number of how many are actually here, then that number could have gone up.”
Residents in “minority-majority” districts are especially being urged to fill out their info. Bender doesn’t want a repeat of the 2010 count.
“Ten years ago, when they redrew the lines, they have difficulty ensuring that,” said Bender. “And as our districts have changed over the years, we know it will be something that we’ll have to contend with again this year to make sure again that they have the representation.”
Once again, those who have not yet completed the form, or perhaps misplaced it, can complete the 2020 Census online by visiting www.my2020census.gov.