Critical funding tied to completion of 2020 census

June 26, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

STAFF REPORT- The importance of completing the 2020 Census is especially clear today as the community responds to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participating in the Census now ensures that Lee County receives its share of federal funding, like the $134 million targeted for Lee County COVID-19 relief through the CARES Act.
For the first time, the Census is available to complete online – at – or by phone at (844)330-2020. It’s easy and secure. Residents also may participate by mail, as usual. Once a response is received, no in-person visit from a Census worker is needed.
So far, approximately 54 percent of the Lee County population has responded, lagging behind both the national rate of 59 percent and the Florida rate of 57 percent.
 Vital federal funding is based on local population. Throughout the next 10 years, important quality-of-life necessities – emergency response, public safety, healthcare, schools, roads and public transit, housing, parks and many more county-wide programs – require an accurate count of the local population.
 National Census field offices are reopening and deliveries of 2020 Census forms and instructions to households lacking addresses are set to resume in June. By mid-August, field workers will be deployed to locate anyone who has not sent in forms.
 The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years.
Where You Are Counted
The goal of the 2020 Census is a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States and its five territories. You should count yourself at the place where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day).
For some, this is straightforward. But others—including college students, service members, and people in health care facilities—may have questions about where they should count themselves or how they should respond. Other circumstances can cause confusion as well, such as moving, having multiple residences, having no permanent address, living in a shelter, or living at a hotel or RV park.
For more details about where people are counted, view the Official Residence Criteria for the 2020 Census.
Count Everyone Living With You
If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone—related or unrelated to you—who lives and sleeps at your home most of the time.
Please be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.
If someone such as a college student is just living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they ordinarily would be living on April 1, 2020.
Please count everyone living in your home. Where there are more people, there are more needs. An accurate count helps inform funding for hospitals, fire departments, schools, and roads for the next 10 years.
July 1 – September 3: Census takers will work with administrators at colleges, senior centers, prisons, and other facilities that house large groups of people to make sure everyone is counted.
August 11 – October 31: Census takers will interview homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.