JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you haven’t already filled out the 2020 Census, you might be out of luck.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the census, overriding a previous ruling from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, which held that the census could continue through Oct. 31.
President Donald Trump’s administration requested the stoppage, saying the U.S. Census Bureau needed time to make sense of the head count before a year-end deadline set by Congress.
It’s unclear if that ruling will stand. Here’s what is clear: with $1.5 trillion in funding up for grabs among cities and counties across the country, this census will affect us all, whether we realize it or not.
Just ask Denise Marzullo, president of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval County. Marzullo estimated Florida lost out on roughly $67 million in additional funding for childcare every year over the last decade due to the lack of responses to the previous Census.
“It’s longer wait lists, it’s less money coming to childcare providers to help spend on quality education efforts, more money for our teachers, so it really is critical – especially for our families in our low-income (range) that are working and in school – to complete the Census,” Marzullo said.
Now, let’s say you don’t have children, so childcare funding doesn’t move the needle for you. Not filling out the Census still affects you. As Fire Chief Keith Powers notes, first responders rely on Census data to craft evacuation plans in case a hurricane comes creeping up Florida’s coast.
“There’s a lot of important on that side, but on the other side, there’s some federal grants that really affect us and affect (the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department),” Powers said. “That allows us to buy protective equipment for our first responders.”
Low response rates aren’t limited to just one or two of our neighborhoods. According to figures released by the city of Jacksonville, the following ZIP codes saw low response rates: 32202, 32205, 32206, 32209, 32210, 32211, 32216, 32217, 32221.
As of Tuesday, the census was halted. But if something changes, completing your census is easy and takes no time at all. You can either visit 2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to fill yours out.