Mayor’s Message: Complete the census

Mayor Nicole Gillespie discusses how completing the 2020 census helps Moorestown.

By NICOLE GILLESPIE, Mayor of Moorestown

In this month’s Mayor’s Message, Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie reminds residents why completing the Census is so important for Moorestown’s future.

It’s been a few months since I’ve written a Mayor’s Message. So much has changed for so many of us due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID-19, and there is still so much uncertainty about the future. But there is one thing we can all do that will help make our future a little more secure: complete the 2020 census!

The response rate in New Jersey is about 2 percent higher than the average national rate, and Moorestown is about 10 percent higher than the New Jersey average, so we are doing great so far! As of Sept. 13, 78.7 percent of Moorestonians had responded to the census. But we are still just short of our 2010 response rate of 79 percent, even though the response deadline has been extended to Sept. 30 this year.

All data collected by the census is safe and protected by federal laws. Data from the United States Census helps determine how more than $45 billion in annual federal funding is allocated in New Jersey for social services, education, healthcare, senior programs and more. The Census Bureau estimates that each person counted in the Census equates to about $1,800 per year in federal funding for communities.

Census data is also used to determine our state legislative districts and congressional districts. Did you know New Jersey used to have 15 representatives in Congress, and now we have only 12? We lost a Congressional representative in the 1980, 1990 and 2010 censuses. So in 2020, let’s all do our part to make sure Moorestown gets our fair share of federal funding AND make sure we are fairly represented in Washington.

But the good news is, if you haven’t completed the 2020 Census yet, there is still time, and it’s easier than ever to do! You have until Sept. 30 to complete the census, and you can do it online at https://my2020census.gov/ or over the phone (844)330–2020 (English) or (844)468–2020 (Spanish). And you can complete the census online or by phone even if you didn’t receive a PIN in the mail. If you think you may have already filled out the census but aren’t sure, you can complete it again without worry. Any duplicates for the same address will be flagged and double-checked.

The goal of the census is to count everyone living in the United States, so when you complete the census, you should include everyone who was living at your house as of April 1, even individuals who are not family members and/or not United States citizens. Census takers are currently knocking on the doors of those households that have not yet responded, so you may also have the opportunity to complete the census by speaking to a census taker.

So please make sure you’re counted by completing your 2020 census. It’s good for Moorestown and good for New Jersey!