November 2019 – Every 10 years, America conducts a census to count all residents in the United States. With 1.2 million people currently calling Hillsborough County home, and growing fast, the 2020 Census will provide us with the valuable statistics we need to improve our local communities, our state, and our country. Terry Eagan, Librarian and Project Manager for the Planning Commission, spoke at Café con Tampa on November 1 about the 2020 Census and the benefits it can bring to Hillsborough County. Population totals and demographics are the foundation for allocating federal and state funding, redistricting, and apportioning how many representatives each state gets in the United States House of Representatives. Census results are equally important on the local level. They frequently inform residents, businesses, local governments, real estate developers and city planners on how to best support community initiatives, improve neighborhoods and schools, ensure public safety and even help determine where to build factories, offices, stores and ultimately, jobs.
To create awareness and ensure every person is counted, Hillsborough County formed a Complete Count Committee (CCC). The CCC is divided into five subcommittees that will focus their outreach efforts to specific neighborhoods and organizations. Terry Eagan stressed the need for these committees to reach out to Hard to Count groups including communities of color, LGBTQ+, the homeless, children under 5 (frequently omitted on Census forms by their parents), people with disabilities, undocumented immigrants, tribal members, rural communities, and the linguistically isolated. These Hard to Count populations are largely located in University Area, College Hill/East Lake/Orient Park, Palm River/Clair Mel, West Tampa, Brandon and Ruskin/Wimauma. Although there will be multiple ways to submit responses including by phone, online, paper form, or in person, the census is intended to be completed entirely online and will be offered in multiple languages to accommodate those who do not speak English as their native language.
Timeline for the 2020 Census
- March 12-20 – Invitation to take the census
- March 16-24 – Reminder letter
- March 26-April 3 – Reminder postcard
- April 8–16 – Reminder letter & Questionnaire
- April 20–27 – Final postcard reminder
For more information on the 2020 Census, visit: 2020census.gov