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Final day for census count arrives

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Thursday marks the deadline for participation in the 2020 census after the Supreme Court ruled the count could end early.

Online responses will be available until 11:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, which means Mid-Missouri residents have until 5 a.m. on Friday to complete the census.

The census had been scheduled to end on Oct. 31 after lower courts ordered the Trump administration to extend the count.

According to the U.S Census Bureau about 67% of households in the country have self-responded to the census. In Missouri the self-response rate is 66%.

In Boone County the self-response rate is about 68% while the self-response rate in Cole County is about 73%

According to ABC News, complete and accurate census reporting is important because census data is used to divide seats in Congress between the states and to issue approximately $1.5 trillion in federal spending for the next 10 years. 

City of Columbia spokeswoman Sara Humm said the census outreach effort locally, Boone County Counts has been different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Counters have had to adapt to reach those who are normally undercounted.

“We were able to do it through things like, specific targeting through Facebook,” Humm said. “Able to really try to target those folks who we know are what we call historically undercounted. For that we mean things like renters including college students, and folks with children, and people of color and people that are immigrants or foreign born.”

Humm said the census responses have a big impact on the community’s daily lives.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars each year are doled out to various programs and resources,” Humm said. “So we’re talking about things like funding for roads and bridges, schools and hospitals but then also very specific programs.”

Humm said for each person who is not counted the community potentially loses $1,300 per person, per year, for 10 years. 

“If you think about some of our non-profits here locally,” Humm said. “How much money that is and how much they could do in our community with that.”

CPS director of nutrition services Laina Fullum said census responses affect the districts free and reduced-price meal program directly.

“If our families don’t do the census, fill out the census information, then we won’t know that they’re there essentially and that they need more services,” Fullum said.

She said her advice to residents that haven’t yet completed the census is to take a few minutes to fill it out.

“It really only asks a few questions about each person in your household,” Humm said. “I think that when you do it you’ll be surprised at how quick it really is.”

 There are multiple ways to complete the census before the deadline:

  • Internet self-responses are available across the nation through 5 a.m. Central Daylight Time Friday. To respond visit my2020census.gov
  • Phone responses will be available for the regularly scheduled time on Thursday. To view the schedule and a list of phone numbers in several languages visit 2020census.gov/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html.
  • Paper response must be postmarked by Thursday.
  • Non-response follow-up census takers will continue to resolve non-responding addresses through the end of the day thursday.

“If you're not doing it,” Humm said. “We’re losing out on your voice for 10 years.”

Riane Cleveland

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