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Census Bureau Officials Urge Liberty County, Tallahassee Residents To Fill Out Census Forms

Census Bureau Officials are encouraging people to fill out their 2020 census forms.
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Census Bureau Officials are encouraging people to fill out their 2020 census forms.

As of Monday, only 29.9% of Liberty County’s residents have completed their census so far, which has caused concern for U.S. Census Bureau officials. The national average is 62.0%

Before the pandemic, civic organizations and churches helped U.S. Census Bureau officials get the word out in Liberty County—often going door-to-door. Now, Greg Engle with the U.S. Census Bureau's Atlanta Region says because of the coronavirus, that approach has changed:

“So we’re doing a lot of online town hall meetings, for example.”

Engle says officials had to scale back efforts of going out into rural communities to hand out census information:

“As some of the communities open up and as we start to get back to a little bit of safety and being safe in our communities, you’re going to start seeing us more and more. We’re going to remind you. We’re going to help you. We’re going to give you the tools you need to get yourself counted.”

As for Tallahassee, the city lags behind the nation at a 55.4% response rate. Engle says college students could be partly to blame:

“What we’re asking those folks to do, especially students is to count where you would normally live and where you lived on April 1st, which was Census Day. In the case of students, that obviously would have been a dorm or their off-campus housing.”

Many students didn’t come back to Tallahassee after spring break due to the coronavirus. Engle explains in Florida census data determines funding for public services. That includes healthcare, emergency disaster response, schools, and more. Engle says census officials are still collecting responses, and he’s encouraging everyone to fill out their forms. To do that, go to 2020census.gov. Or call 844-330-2020.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.