ORLANDO, Fla. – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is conducting the 2020 census, marking the 24th time the country has counted the population.
Responding to the census is not only your civic duty, but it also affects the number of federal funding communities receives and how they’re represented in government.
Marilyn Stephens, the assistant regional census manager for the southeast, joined anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com” to discuss the importance of the once-a-decade population count and how Americans are doing so far.
Stephens says 62 percent of the United States population has filled out the 2020 census, but she's concerned with the numbers for the Orlando region.
"In Orlando, we're seeing response rates of about 40 percent," Stephens said. "That's a concern. We still really need to emphasize the importance, the ease and the security of the census because many of the households have yet to respond with all the messaging we've put out."
Once the data collection is complete, the Census Bureau begins a thorough and scientifically rigorous process to produce the apportionment counts, redistricting information and other statistical data that help guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year.
Stephens says door knockers will start visiting homes that have yet to fill out forms as early as mid-July. In the meantime, she wants people who have already done so to become what she calls 'census ambassadors.'
“Make a list of your ten friends, relatives and associates, and call them up to ask if they’ve completed the census,” Stephens said. “We need to get the message out that the census is important, it’s easy and it’s safe.”