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Fla. Lags in Census Count Putting Funding at Risk

The Census ends soon, and Fla. lags most states with only 92.5% counted. An undercount can impact political representation and fed funding for the next 10 years.

WASHINGTON – Barring a change, the 2020 U.S. census stops counting on Sept. 30, and Florida has 92.5% of  its citizens counted so far. Only eight other U.S. states have a lower percentage – Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and North Carolina.

The federal government uses the once-per-decade count in many of its decisions, including the number of representatives a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the portion of federal money it receives from a wide range of federal programs.

Realtors are U.S. Census partners in 2020 and encouraged to push Floridians to respond. While Census Bureau employees are now reaching out directly to uncounted households, Floridians can still respond online using the Bureau’s self-respond online form.

The Census Bureau is in the final stages of data collection, sending employees door-to-door in some areas where the count is short.

“We have 5,000 traveling enumerators moving from the most successful states” to lesser-performing states,” Albert Fontenot, Census Bureau associate director, said last Thursday.

While the census officially ends on Sept. 30, that might change depending on a federal court. A California judge is hearing a lawsuit filed by the National Urban League, Navajo Nation, California, Illinois, Texas and Washington asking that the Census Bureau be given more time.

“Because the decennial census is at issue here, an inaccurate count would not be remedied for another decade, which would affect the distribution of federal and state funding,” Judge Lucy Koh wrote in an earlier ruling.

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