A federal judge has denied the Census Bureau’s motion to dismiss the suit over inadequate government preparations for the 2020 Census.

Only 58 percent of New Orleanians have responded to the 2020 Census

Thanks to a federal judge’s ruling, the deadline for the 2020 Census has again been extended to Oct. 31—giving stragglers a few more weeks to take to be counted.

The deadline to complete the Census was first extended to Oct. 31 earlier this year as the COVID-19 pandemic threatened Census activity, which includes Census workers going out into communities to ensure people are counted. Then, in August, the Trump administration reinstated the original deadline of Sept. 30–a move ostensibly designed to lead to undercounting in Black people and other communities of color where many are already reeling from the disproportionate impact of the pandemic.

Luckily, legal challenges to the Trump’s move have prevailed—reinstating Oct. 1 has the final date to complete the Census. All that’s left to do now is to take a few minutes to answer nine questions that help determine how federal dollars will be allocated for the next 10 years.

In an Oct. 6 social media post, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents to use the additional time to respond to the 2020 Census, pointing out that the response rate for the state was at 60 percent, and even lower for the city of New Orleans at 58 percent.

The Mayor’s post read:42% of New Orleans is unaccounted in the #2020Census. We cannot afford to leave 42% of our federal dollars on the table.”

And while 100 percent participation is ideal, the City has set a more modest of 70 percent participation for the 2020 Census, according to Arthur Walton, the City’s director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The results of the Census help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. Census results influence highway planning and construction, money for buses, subways, and other public transit systems, as well as funding to police and fire departments. The Census also helps determine how money is allocated to a community for any number of federal programs, including Head Start, Pell Grants, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), special education grants to states, Community Development Block Grants, Title I grants to local education agencies, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and countless others.

Walton has said the focus now is on getting members of historically hard-to-count communities to respond to the Census.

Those hard-to-count communities include communities of color, young children, renters, people experiencing homelessness, and low-income families—in short, the very communities that stand to benefit most from many of the federal programs whose funding is determined by the Census count.

To complete the Census, residents can put the completed questionnaire in the envelope provided and return it to:       

U.S. Census Bureau
National Processing Center
1201 E 10th Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47132

You can also visit www.2020Census.gov. Individuals also have the option of calling 844-330-2020 for English speakers, 844-468-2020 for Spanish speakers, or 844-461-2020 for Vietnamese speakers to complete the Census by phone.

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