Census Response In Broward Lags Behind Rest Of State, Inching Up
Households in Broward County lag behind the state and the nation when it comes to responding to the 2020 U.S. Census.
The number of people counted will determine how much federal funding cities and counties will get for the next ten years, for programs ranging from Section 8 housing choice vouchers, to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and even children's health insurance.
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Right now the response rate in Broward County is 58.4 percent. That's inching up slowly week-by-week. In comparison, Florida's average response rate is slightly higher, at 59.6 percent. Nationally, on average, 62.6 percent of households have completed the questionaire to be counted.
You can also head here to see your city's level of participation on the U.S. Census map.
Like nearly everything this year, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Census efforts. It hasn't been easy to do outreach anywhere especially in South Florida, one of the nation's hotspots.
"People are dealing with not having jobs, not having food, worried about a roof over their heads, and the census doesn't come to the forefront but actually it's more important than ever,” Nan Rich said. The Broward county commissioner, and former state senator, chairs Broward's Complete Count Census Committee.
"People can connect what's going on in the community with what will happen in the next 10 years if we do not receive our fair share of federal dollars," she said.
To help bring participation up, the county is leading a workforce campaign the week of Aug. 10-16 called "Show Your Love For Broward."
"It's a pledge for employers to participate at work to allow employees to have a 10-15 minute period on a specific day to complete their census,” Rich said.
The initial deadline to answer the Census questionaire has been extended until Oct 31. You can respond by phone, online, or by mail. It is confidential, and does not include a citizenship question.
In the meantime, the county has been adapting its Census strategy by handing out flyers about the Census at some Coronavirus testing locations, at food distribution sites and increased pushes on social media.
"Our whole strategy had to be adjusted, changed because of the inability to go out, meet with people in person...It's a combination now of working with the business community, working with the cities. Everybody has to pull together," Rich said. "We just have to keep doing it so that we have this outreach."