Trenton’s Mount Carmel Guild has been encouraging Census enrollment with English and Spanish fliers placed in food bags at its food pantry. Photo courtesy of Mary Inkrot
Trenton’s Mount Carmel Guild has been encouraging Census enrollment with English and Spanish fliers placed in food bags at its food pantry. Photo courtesy of Mary Inkrot
Roughly 60 percent of New Jersey’s households have participated in the 2020 Census, but with the coronavirus pandemic front and center in people’s minds, officials fear completing the survey may have now fallen by the wayside.

However, the coronavirus pandemic is just one example of why taking part in the U.S. Census is so important, advocates say, for the government uses that data to determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed to States and communities each year, including hospitals and public health initiatives.

In addition, Census data is used for deciding how much a community receives in natural disaster relief; determining grants for schools, teachers and special education; supporting programs that prevent child abuse, and funding public transportation and highway construction, among other considerations.

“Being counted in the Census is vital to making sure we as a community, county and State are considered accurately for federal and State funding of social, medical and transportation services as well as for legislative representation, which is all based on the number of residents living here,” said Brenda Rascher, executive director of the diocesan Office of Catholic Social Services.

“If we are undercounted, then we will be underrepresented and underserved across the board,” she said. “Instead of speaking with a full voice heard by all, it would be like we are softly whispering yet hoping that we are still heard.”

To encourage New Jerseyans to be counted in the Census, the State is offering actions everyone can take:

1.) Make sure you have completed the Census. Visit 2020Census.gov. The page also has a full listing of events, documents and information you can share to motivate others.               

2.) Call, text or email five friends, neighbors or relatives – ask them to fill out the Census now and ask if they can call five people, etc. A personal ask makes it more likely people will take action.   

3.) If you are leading an organization, group, meeting, etc., consider arranging a Census event online or by phone. If you host an event, the State can provide staff support.                                                                                  

4.) Post about the Census on social media (follow NJCensus2020). Use these hashtags: #NJCensus2020, #FillitOutNow, #StrengthInNumbers or #NJGOTC. Use social media to start a dialogue; tag a friend to fill out the Census today.

The deadline to be counted in the 2020 Census is Sept. 30. To complete your response visit 2020Census.gov, call 844-330-2020 or mail your completed questionnaire to U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center, 1201 E 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132.