Accurate figures will make Doral eligible for more federal funds
By: María Alejandra Pulgar
DORAL, FL – The Census is a process mandated by the Constitution. Accurate account of the residents in the country impacts all important decisions: legislative districts, urban planning, tax funds distribution, etc. Census Day is April 1st. Before that date every single household in the United States will receive a communication requiring the accounting of all its residents, regardless of immigration status. It is a confidential process, and this year residents can answer the questions by phone, mail or online.
Population in the United States has been counted since 1790 and the US Census Bureau as we know it was established in 1902. The census happens every ten years and provides valuable information on all topics that impact the life in the country.
In the City of Doral this is the second time the population will be accounted as a separate municipality. The first time was in 2010, merely seven years after incorporation when the US Bureau calculated the population of the Doral at 45,704 residents. Estimates put that figure at 61,824 in 2018.
“This past decade has been one of growth for the city” said Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez. “We grew faster than people expected and I think moving forward we will have some growth but not at the speed we had the past decade. The key thing now is to make sure that the new growth is controlled, and we maintain the quality of life of the community. “
Census Data is important for decision making
Data obtained from the census allows government and businesses to plan and develop products and services to fulfill the needs of the population. Based on the numbers from the census the federal government assigns funds and resources for health, education, transportation, housing and other services depending on the location people reside. In addition, legislative districts are defined based on census data; the amount of population in an area determines the amount of representatives a state will have in the U. S. Congress and also state legislatures.
Mayor Bermudez explained it is very important to make sure everybody is counted. For the City of Doral, this census numbers would certify that the population in Doral has surpassed the estimated 60,000 residents. “Hopefully, if everybody is counted it gives us the opportunity to have access to more federal grants.”
Timeline for the 2020 Census
The reference date for the census is April 1st, 2020. It means that, upon receiving the invitation to participate in the census, the data to be included in the answering form should refer to all people residing in a household by April 1st.
The effort of organizing a census implies a monumental task. During 2019 the Census Bureau canvassed areas that experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that all addresses are registered to receive census participation forms, and also organized more than 200 census offices around the country to coordinate local activities toward the process in 2020.
According to the timeline published by the Census Bureau, remote villages in Alaska will be the first to be counted, starting January 21st. Official mail from the census, with instructions on how to respond online, by mail or by phone, will be distributed to households around the country from March 12th to March 20th; people are expected to answer by April 1st.
Homeless people will be counted from March 30 to April 1st. During the month of April census takers will visit colleges, senior centers and other places where large groups of people reside, who might not have been included on household accounts, and also will perform quality check interviews to ensure accuracy. From May to July all homes that did not answer the census will be visited to verify the information and by December the Census Bureau will deliver their results to the President and Congress. By the end of March 2021 redistricting counts will be sent to the states, which determines legislative districts based on changes on the amount of residents.
Immigrants should be counted too
A community with a large amount of immigrants like Doral needs education on why the census is important and that every person counted makes a difference, regardless of their immigration status.
The data collected on the census includes: the amount of residents in a household; homeownership status; sex, relationship, age, race and ethnic origin of each resident. It will never ask for the Social Security Number, party affiliations, bank or credit card accounts data nor request donations.
All personal information is kept confidential, and by federal law it can only be used for statistical purposes. Therefore, regardless of their immigration status people, have to answer all census questions and allow to be counted.
“It is important that everybody is counted. If someone is not here legally I can understand their concerns” affirmed Bermudez. “The census should definitely not be used to point out who is here legally or illegally […]. We would hope that everybody gets counted, because to get a fair estimate of the resources as a city and as a county, everyone should be counted, and that includes those who might not be here legally.”
Working for the Census
Tackling a herculean task as the census needs a massive recruitment effort on a variety of disciplines. There are positions open for full time and part-time jobs for the census all over the country. For more information those interested can check the website https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html