Local communities fear for Census turnout


JACKSON COUNTY, Fla (WMBB)- The 2020 Census is fast approaching and many local communities are worried that some of their citizens will be left uncounted. As the Panhandle continues to rebuild, it is crucial that all citizens respond. Local county officials say the future of our communities depends on it.

“Every person that we miss is very vital to our county. We can’t afford for anyone not to be counted because there’s 55 grant programs throughout the federal government that strive strictly off of the population count,” said Tray Hawkins, Washington County Chairman.

The census determines how much funding the state receives on a federal level for the next decade. Any uncounted citizens can be detrimental.

With Panhandle communities already suffering from lower populations due to Hurricane Michael, it’s important that accurate numbers are recorded. Miscalculations can be costly .

“It reduces our access to resources that we definitely need. Even resources such as healthcare, even the local health department. Those census numbers can affect the programs that they are able to offer,” said Tiffany Garling, Executive Director for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

County officials understand residents have concerns. But, they say the only concern is making sure everyone is accounted for.

“We know people are still probably a little bit wary of having to deal with government entities after a storm like this and they don’t want to have to deal with another one but it’s very important that our numbers are counted and we get the best possible count that we can,” said Garling.

For the first time, citizens will be able to respond to the census online.

You can also respond by phone, mail or through an in-person interview.

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