Census Officials Aim for "Hard to Count" Populations
Wednesday afternoon census officials tried to spread the word that the forms have already or will soon arrive in mailboxes across the country. A process they said isn't that easy.
"There's a lot of rural areas, some that don't have regular street addresses," said Norman Sassner, Gainesville census office manager. "And that's what we count as hard to count areas."
There's also "hard-to-count" populations with one noticeably absent this week. University of Florida students may be gone for spring break, but school officials have been working for months to make sure there's an accurate count on campus.
"The primary concern is they feel like their parents fill out the forms. And probably the parents also think that they fill out the forms," said Assistant Vice President for Community Relations Susan Crowley. "If students are living out of the home they do fill them out for themselves."
Transportation funding, tuition and grants are just some areas related to university students that are based on census counts. While outreach to students can include things like email or Facebook, another "hard-to-count" group, the homeless, requires a more hands-on approach. A number of community groups will be training next week on how to establish an accurate count of this population.
"If their service provider says it's okay to fill this out and they're already a trusted source for them then hopefully the message will come across that it is safe and private and convenient for them," said Jayne Morawski from the City of Gainesville Alachua County Office on Homelessness.
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