January 22, 2021

Census 2020 – What you need to know

Did you know that some of the services impacted by the Census include public safety, transportation, health, education and economic development? At a local level, FIU students and researchers rely on census figures every day to better understand population characteristics, business information and assess needs and service gaps.

The FIU Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center is designated as an official Census Information Center, with the mission to provide efficient access to Census Bureau data products to undeserved population groups. Census data is used in all of the center’s research, to define community needs, understand our local economy and workforce, identify challenges like housing affordability, income inequality and community resilience, and develop solutions to address South Florida’s challenges.

Last year, the FIU Metropolitan Center received nearly $2 million in research funding—all of which heavily relies on U.S. Census Data. Our research includes the City of Miami’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, Miami’s Manufacturing Sector, Status of Women in Miami-Dade, and Broward County’s Commercial Linkage Fee Study, to name a few.

Why is the Census important?

More than ever, it is important to fill out the census to ensure our community receives a complete and accurate count. According to George Washington University, at least $1.5 trillion in federal funding is dispersed throughout the country using census-derived data. In 2016, Florida received at least $45 billion using census derived data to fund over 55 programs, such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, highway planning and construction, Section 8 housing choice vouchers, Head Start, and foster care.

Florida is considered one of the states with the highest risk for under counting according to the Urban Institute. Specific groups have historically been under counted, such as low-income households, communities of colors, renters, and households with children under 5. Adults between the ages of 18-34 are also considered a risk for being under counted. With less individuals counted, local governments, programs, and organizations may receive less federal funding to properly assist their communities. (The FIU Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center conducted a study on hard-to-count groups in Miami-Dade and Broward County to better understand what their barriers and motivators are in completing the census.)

Who is counted?

The 2020 Census will ask a few simple questions about you and everyone who is or will be living with you on April 1, 2020. One person should respond for each home and they should know general information about each person living there. This includes young children, foster children, roommates, and any family members or friends who are living with you, even temporarily. It should even include individuals who may be renting a room in your household.

How should people respond?

Responding to the census has never been easier. You can respond online, over the phone, or by mail using the invitation that was mailed to your household.

 

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