Longboat Key’s self-response rate of 36.9% ranks 370th out of 409 cities and towns in Florida.
Longboat Key leaders are trying to encourage residents to complete their forms for the 2020 U.S. Census.
“People still have a little bit of time to get online and fill out the form,” said Longboat Key Support Services Director Carolyn Brown. “That is the preferred way. The Census representatives feel that is the best way to handle filling out the information.”
The U.S. Census Bureau has moved the deadline to respond to the 2020 Census to Sept. 30 because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collection for the 2020 Census had initially been scheduled to stop at the end of July.
Census representatives go door to door to get citizens’ responses if they don’t fill out the forms online. Brown said it is labor-intensive for workers to go in person because they go back a second time if someone isn’t home. Plus, people can limit their exposure to others by filling out the forms online because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“They don’t actually come into your home, but they would ring the doorbell and take information basically outside, kind of by the doorstop, that kind of thing,” Brown said.
As of Thursday morning, Longboat Key’s self-response rate ranks 370th out of 409 cities and towns in Florida. Longboat Key had a self-response rate of 43.7% in 2010, according to Assistant Regional Census Manager Marilyn Stephens.
The town has used a social media campaign to get more people to submit their census forms. The census is conducted every 10 years.
On Wednesday, the town released a video interview with Stephens and Town Manager Tom Harmer.
“The primary reason we conduct the census is to determine each state’s representation in Congress,” Stephens said in the video. “Now, all states would like to have all 435 members in Congress, trust me, but it doesn’t really work that way.”
The census determines how many legislators Florida has in Congress for the next 10 years and defines local congressional district boundaries.
After the 2010 census, Florida gained two seats in reapportionment. Florida has 27 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The census also determines how federal money is allocated for municipalities. It includes how money is dispersed for programs such as emergency preparedness, emergency management services, health care services, services for seniors, services for veterans, highway planning, construction and more.
So far, Florida ranks 32nd among the 50 states with a 60.3% response rate, while the national response rate is 63.4%.
In 2010, Florida's rate was 63%.
For anyone concerned about security, Stephens told the Longboat Observer in April that citizens’ data is protected under Title 13 and Title 44.
Under Title 44, census data is sealed off for 72 years.