BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — If you haven’t completed the 2020 census, time is running out.
The deadline is midnight tonight and community leaders are urging everyone to fill it out. The responses on the census help determine how much federal funding the counties and cities will receive for the next 10 years.
Panama City Beach Councilman Michael Jarman said it is important that all voices are heard.
“This is their community and as residents of their community we need to do everything we can to improve this community for ourselves,” Jarman said.
Over the last six months, residents across the country have been responding to this year’s census. However, the rate of response is lower than expected in the panhandle, with seven counties ranking in the bottom 15 in Florida.
Bay County is the highest at 47.1 percent, Walton County 33.8, and Franklin County 33.7. Panama City Beach is ranking 396 out of 409 cities in Florida and only seeing a 28.7 percent response rate.
“We would love it to be a lot higher considering that is what determines the funding for the area,” Jarman said.
The funding from the census provides federal funding projects like transportation, school systems, and healthcare – all things our area desperately needs help for. Bay County Public Information Officer Valerie Sale said this year filling out the census is easier than ever.
“We have been working very hard to make sure that everyone is aware of it and particularly the fact that for the first time ever we can do it online,” said Sale.
You can fill out this year’s census by clicking here. It will close at midnight tonight.