Census data helps determine allocation of government resources and ensure fair political representation for Floridians and all Americans.
More than one third (33.2%) of Florida’s general revenues come from federal aid ($25.5 billion). Without an accurate Census, Florida residents could be denied the full funding they deserve and need – and elected officials won’t be able to make informed decisions for your constituents for more than a decade on a range of issues.
More than $600 billion annually in federal assistance to states, localities, and families is distributed based on census data, yet historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of people of color, young children and the rural and urban
poor, leading to inequality in political power and in access to public funding and private investment for these communities. Going into 2020, additional communities, including immigrants and refugees, unmarried women and the LGBTQ community are at
risk of being missed.
April 14, 2020 Update
Census bureau has stated it would extend the deadline for collecting census data, now Aug. 15, to Oct. 31, and would begin reopening its field offices — which have been shuttered since mid-March — sometime after June 1.
The bureau has also said would ask that delivery of the final census figures be postponed to April 30, 120 days beyond the existing Dec. 31 deadline. That would mean that state legislatures would get final population figures for drawing new maps as late as July 31, 2021. Delivery of that data normally is completed by the end of March. Click here to read the press release.
Why Census Matters to Communities?
An accurate census helps ensure fair representation at all levels of government. The primary constitutional purpose for the decennial census is to determine how many congressional representatives each state will have for the next decade and to ensure equal representation in the redistricting process. For instance, congressional districts and the boundaries of your city ward are determined by census numbers.
The census directly impacts the funding your city will receive over the next decade. Population counts and statistics derived from both the decennial census and other surveys determine the annual allocation of more than $800 billion in federal investment across states, counties and cities. While many financial assistance programs and block grants, like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), are distributed to cities based on American Community Survey (ACS) statistics, the benchmark for all ACS data is the decennial census.
The census provides the most reliable and complete data for research, decision making and planning for both the public and private sectors. Academic institutions, medical facilities, businesses of all sizes and all levels of government rely on census data to inform their research, decision making and planning. While the decennial census only asks a few basic questions, the population counts and demographic data that it produces serve as a benchmark for most other current statistics that help us gain deeper insights into our communities.