Local communities slow in census response

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The communities around Lake Okeechobee have been slow to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census. That could mean less federal funding for these counties.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 61% of the nation had responded to the Census as of June 21. Florida’s response rate was 58.7%.

In South Central Florida, most counties are below the state response average:
• Okeechobee County – 44.9%
• Glades County – 30.9%
• Hendry County – 39.2%
• Palm Beach County – 59.5%
• DeSoto County – 44.4%.

Everyone living in the United States and its five territories is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census. In March, residents nationwide received invitations to complete the 2020 Census. The census forms can be done by mail, online or over the phone.

In April the Census Bureau sent out paper questionnaires to those who had not yet responded to the census online or by phone.

July 1 through Sept. 3, census takers will work with administrators at colleges, senior centers, prisons and other facilities that house large groups of people to make sure everyone is counted.

Aug. 11 through Oct. 31, census takers will go to homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census and conduct interviews.

In December, the Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the president and Congress as required by law.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operations to protect the health and safety of census employees and the public.

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation and provide data that will affect communities for the next decade.

The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to communities across the country — for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs and other critical programs and services.

If you have not yet filled out the census, go online to my2020census.gov.

You can also respond to the census by phone. Call 844-330-2020 for English; 844-468-2020 for Spanish; 844-477-2020 for Haitian Creole.

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