Census-A-Thon to encourage higher response rate for census

The virtual Census-A-Thon event will take place over three days
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 7:46 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A whirlwind year –– marked by nationwide protests against racial injustice and more than 2.9 positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. –– is also a census year.

The Greater Gainesville Chamber partnered with the School Board of Alachua County, the City of Gainesville and Alachua County in the partnership to sponsor a virtual three-day community Census-A-Thon.

Nearly 40 percent of households have not completed the 2020 Census after receiving an invitation to fill out the census this past spring. Census workers in Alachua County have less than six months to increase participation.

“Everyone who completes the census helps shape the future of our community,” Jessica Evans-Turner, the City of Gainesville census coordinator, said.

The Census-A-Thon aims to raise awareness about the financial impacts of the census. Data recorded during the 2020 census will guide the allocation of federal funding for hospitals, schools, fire departments, and roads, Evans-Turner said.

“We lost more than $390 million over the course of the decade,” she said. “So we definitely want to show up and have our numbers surpass the 2010 numbers, and it would be great to see a 100% count.”

So far, Florida has a response rate of 59%. Meanwhile, Alachua County had a 61.4% response rate.

Evans-Turner also assured that census data is confidential and safe. Since the pandemic started in March, census workers transitioned to contactless methods.

The Census-A-Thon will be streamed on YouTube from Wednesday through Friday which will include daily drawings for prize giveaways. People do not have to complete the 2020 Census to participate.

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