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Posted on: January 30, 2020

Census 2020

newsflash census 2020

America gets one chance each decade to count its population. Census data determines everything from seats in U.S. Congress to billions in federal funding for local programs. Getting an accurate count in Pinellas County for the 2020 U.S. Census is critical for our community.  In 2016, Florida received more than $44B through 55 top federal programs that are guided by census data, according to a study by George Washington University. 

Census population data helps guide everything from affordable housing grants to federal highway projects. Our population count directly impacts funding for local programs - billions of dollars are at stake in our state. 

Census data also guides funding for the City of Pinellas Park. Funding from the CDBG program has been instrumental toward significant strides Pinellas Park has achieved to reduce and eliminate slum and blight in the CRA and in low-to-moderate income areas.  Major infrastructure improvements have included water and sewer systems, roadways and traffic facilities, sidewalks, ADA ramps, pedestrian signal improvements, storm water drainage, fire hydrants and streetscapes. In addition, dozens of new and expanded businesses have emerged within the main corridors along Park Boulevard (SR 694) and 49th Street (CR 611).  

Census tracts (specifically, Block Groups) are researched to determine the low-to-moderate income neighborhoods where CDBG funds can be utilized.

Currently, the City has eleven active grants, totaling $1,318,510 and five pending grants totaling $2,328,760.  Every grant application and community report submitted on behalf of the City of Pinellas Park utilizes varying degrees of the U.S. Census.

In March, the Census Bureau will send every household in America an invitation to respond online. This invitation will be sent three times before an enumerator shows up at your door, most likely around May.

This will be the nation’s first online census, but for those who may have concerns about filling out the survey online, or who don’t have reliable internet access, there are other ways to take it. Households that do not complete the online census after the initial mailing will automatically receive a paper questionnaire in their mailbox. Those who need special accommodation or need the census in a language other than English will be able to call a 1-800 number and take it over the phone.  

If you’re worried about sharing your personal information on the census form, consider that you already have to give more detailed information for all of these basic government services. 

Bottom line: you give less personal information on the census than in many other areas of your life. If you don’t complete it, though, our community will less funding for programs and services we all depend on. 

Title 13 U.S. Code prevents the Census Bureau from using your data in any manner other than those related to Census purposes – your response is solely used for government statistics. 

Attempts by government or public agencies to get individual census responses have withstood challenges in the courts. In 1982, the Supreme Court confirmed that even addresses are confidential and cannot be disclosed. No court of law can subpoena census responses. 

Further, The Census Bureau is using the most advanced security systems available; in fact, not only are your responses encrypted (that means, they are scrambled online and not readable), once the Census Bureau receives your response, that data is no longer kept online. 

But, as with the issue of sharing personal information with the government, it’s also important to be realistic about the many ways most people already share much more detailed personal information with other government agencies, banks, businesses and more. The census form doesn’t even collect your social security number. 

Additional Info about the 2020 Census...
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