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#MakeMiamiCount Campaigns For 2020 Census Participation Without Fear

Lily Oppenheimer
At the Make Miami Count campaign event, census workers sign up people interested in being a 2020 U.S. Census taker on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

South Florida headcounts during the 2020 U.S. Census will determine how much federal funding out of $675 billion will be invested in local communities over the next decade. It’s also critical in deciding Congressional seats and political power. 

To encourage more participation so South Florida sees its fair share of distributed federal tax dollars, the City of Miami announced its awareness campaign - Make Miami Count (#MakeMiamiCount.) 

It aims to reduce fears of participation and undercounts, what census advocates say is a notorious problem in Florida.

In 2010 Miami-Dade County had a net undercount of 27,000 Miamians, 18,000 of which were Latino children. Broward County also had an undercount of 14,600 people, which census officials estimated cost the county approximately $21 million per year, and $210 million over the decade. Palm Beach County also had a net undercount of over 7,000 people. 

To compound the issue, experts indicate that Trump Administration’s efforts to gather citizenship data from every household might have a fearful ripple-effect in immigrant households, even though  the Supreme Court ruled against including that question in June. 

Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN
Assistant U.S. Regional Census Manager Manuel Landivar speaks at the Make Miami Count campaign kickoff event on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

Threats to the accuracy of the 2020 Census could seriously impact the wellbeing of South Florida communities. New data from the Urban Institute reveals that the 2020 Census could potentially undercount over 4 million people, disproportionately ignoring black and Latinx communities in 'hard to count' areas

Assistant U.S. Regional Census Manager Manuel Landivar spoke at the campaign kickoff. He said especially newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers may not be aware of how valuable the U.S. Census is. 

“Lunch programs, Head Start programs, English as a second language classes in schools, all these programs that have a federal government subsidy will be affected if the numbers are not there,” Landivar said.

“We’re here, we live in this community, let’s do our civic duty to respond to the census. Because if we don’t, we’re only going to shortchange ourselves.”