Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Funder Sign-on Letter to Commerce Secretary on Cutting Short the Census

August 04, 2020

The Census Bureau announced in April that in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was changing the census calendar from an original end date of July 31, to October 31 for both Self-Response and Non-Response follow up. And, in order to allow the appropriate time for statistical analysis and quality control, the  Bureau  posted a calendar that changed  the delivery of the census apportionment counts to the President from December 31, 2020 to  April 30,2021.  This is the calendar we all have been working with since April.

Last week, NPR broke the story that the Census calendar was changed, cutting a month off from Non-Response Follow-up, changing the end date from October 31 to September 30. While there has been no formal announcement by the Census Bureau, the calendar on their web site was changed last week.

Almost every state is lagging its 2010 census response rates, and Florida at 59.9% is a full 3.3% behind our response rate in 2010. If you recall in 2010 Florida missed 1.4 million residents and the outcome for 2020 is of grave concern if a month is cut from the time period in which the census takers can work in our communities.  Also, the 50 grantees of Florida Counts and many other community organizations developed their Census work plans based upon the October 31 date.  Cutting back the Census timetable will be a disaster for our state.

In many states like Florida, Non-response follow up will not even begin until August 11 at the earliest, and with so many Covid hot zones in Florida, it is questionable whether the first few weeks of  door knocking will be effective in August or early September. We really need the month of October to assure as complete a census as possible.

You can review the letter which was signed by over 480 Philanthropic leaders and feel free to share through your social media channels:

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