JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More Jacksonville households have responded to this year’s Census than in 2010, according to a U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson.
66.5 percent of Jacksonville’s households have responded to the 2020 Census so far, beating the 2010 turn out rate of 55 percent.
Virginia Hyer, Chief of the Public Relations Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau, says that while these are great numbers, she wants to see more people respond. They are now sending out census takers to call and visit households that haven’t responded yet.
“You can identify a census taker by the questions that they are going to be asking you over the phone. We will never ask for information regarding financial information, your Social Security number or anything on behalf of a political party,” Hyer said. “And if you do see a census taker in person, they will identify themselves using a census I.D. badge. They will be carrying a Census Bureau back and having a government issued iPhone. And at all times they will be wearing a mask and will practice social distancing when completing that census interview.”
The 2020 Census allows people to fill out the survey by mail, phone, or online. This is the first year where the Decennial census allows people to self-respond online or by phone. In Jacksonville, over 54.6 percent of households have filled out the census online.
The Census is important to fill out as it allocates the number of representatives each state will have in Congress and will help allocate federal funding to local communities.
“For things like emergency services, school lunch programs, along with funding for grants for highways and roads. So it’s just so important that everyone in response to the 2020 census as soon as you’re able to,” Hyer said.
Anyone can fill out the census, as long as they live in the United States, regardless of legal status.
“Everything that the Census Bureau does is completely safe, and we protect your information for life," Hyer said. "We are bound by law not to provide any information to local law enforcement agencies as well as federal law enforcement agencies like ICE. We do not share that in any of your information with them.”
The U.S. Census Bureau website is reporting that 87.4 percent of households in Florida have responded so far. Florida is tenth in the state for census response rate. Nationally, the rate is at 91.8 percent.
The deadline for the 2020 Census has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now set for September 30. The census only takes ten minutes to fill out. More information on the census can be found here.