The deadline to fill out the U.S. Census has been moved up by four weeks, to Sept. 30.
According to a statement last week by U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, the self-response period was shortened to allow enough time to review data before Dec. 31, the Bureau’s statutory deadline.
The previous self-response deadline, extended due to the coronavirus pandemic, was Oct. 31. This would have given the U.S. Census Bureau until April 30, 2021, to process the data.
As of August 5, 63.5 percent of Pinellas County residents have completed the census, compared to Florida’s total response rate of 60.1 percent. Hillsborough has counted 61.7 percent of its residents, while Pasco has counted 63.6 percent. Hernando has surged ahead with a response rate of 68.3 percent.
For every person uncounted in the 2010 census, Florida lost $946 in federal funding –– a total of $20 billion in losses.
This funding provides Floridians with access to federal programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Census data also directs CARES Act funding for coronavirus relief.
With over 30 percent of all residents uncounted across the Tampa Bay region, millions of dollars for these programs will be lost, with no chance to regain them until the 2030 Census.
The census also determines the number of representatives in each Congressional district. Based on reports by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019, Florida is on track to gain two more representatives in the House, including one likely representative in Central Florida.
However, on July 21, President Donald Trump issued a memo that would exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted. If the memo goes into effect, Florida could lose those representatives.
Citizens can complete the census online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail. Completing the census is required by law, and refusal to fill out all or part of the census may result in a $100 fine. False answers can carry a fine of up to $500.
The census does not ask for citizenship status or Social Security numbers. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot release your information to the public in any way that might identify you.
The nationwide population count is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau once every ten years. Visit my2020census.gov to learn more.