PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Census helps to determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year. Some of that money will come to the Panhandle.
Yet thousands of people have yet to fill out their 2020 census.
The Panhandle is showing some of the lowest participation numbers in the state of Florida.
The Census funds projects such as hospitals, transportation, and other public projects.
But many here in the Panhandle haven’t filled out theirs, meaning millions of dollars could potentially be taken from these projects if not enough people respond.
“Highway planning and construction, college students looking at Pell Grants, veteran services, services for seniors, so there’s a lot riding on the Census. We have this once every 10 year reset,” said Asst. Regional Manager U.S. Census Bureau, Marilyn Stephens.
Due to the pandemic the Census Bureau has extended the deadline to October; the percentage of people who have filled out the survey locally remains low.
“42.4% for Panama city, and 22.4% for Panama City Beach,” said Stephens.
With COVID-19 impacting many financially, the Census staff says the money that it provides to our area is more important now than ever.
“We still have an expectation to receive $44 billion from the federal government in the 2020 Census, that’s only if every single person in the state is counted,” said Consultant at Wallace H. Colher Foundation, Jasmine Burney-Clark.
The Census Bureau says they will be going around and contacting people who have not filled out their forms, by going door to door in June.