MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A plea from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and City Commissioners, calling on more people to fill out their census forms because tens of millions of dollars are at stake for vital programs for the city.
Suarez told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "Miami is still woefully below the level it should be at with a response rate of 51.7 percent. At risk is millions and millions of dollars in federal funding and representation. We don't need to look further than this year to see that 32,000 people being miscounted cost is $88 million. Please take a moment to fill out your census form at home. You can go to 2020Census.Gov."
An accurate census count is essential because it determines how billions of dollars are distributed nationwide for such vital programs in areas like education, transportation, and health care and how many representatives in Congress each area deserves.
New census bureau figures show that the Census response rate nationwide is
65.5 percent and 62.1 percent in Florida and 60.6 percent in Miami-Dade County.
Palmetto Bay has the highest response rate in Miami-Dade at 79.3 percent. Bal Harbour has the lowest rate of 27.69 percent.
The deadline for filling out forms is September 30th.
Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon said, "When it comes to the bottom line this truly impacts our community. The census is what gives us the ability to get money coming into our community and how we can pay for things and help figure out to ease poverty in our neighborhoods."
Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell said, "If you live downtown and you live in the Brickell area where sometimes there are difficulties counting people you have the responsibility to be counted because following this pandemic there will be an economic fallout and this city will need the money in the recovery. Now more than ever because of this pandemic, you will need to be counted."
For weeks we have seen how workers have been going door-to-door to homes where the census has not been filled out.
Filling out the form will only take a few minutes.
It is also a good way to find out how your city or community is doing.
In late August, Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, the county's census liaison, told CBS4 that there are no excuses.
"You have an obligation as an American," he said. "If that doesn't move you, it is almost biblical. God asked Moses to count and if it's good enough for God, it's good enough for us."
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