The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everybody once — only once — and in the right location.

To accomplish this goal, the Census Bureau offers three convenient, secure, and confidential ways to self-respond: online at, by phone, 844-330-2020, or by mail.

Self-responding to the 2020 census is important because it determines the number of representatives Florida has in the U.S. Congress. Florida can pick up additional seats because of population growth and high self-response rates to the 2020 Census.

Money follows data, not need. More than $675 billion will be distributed to the states over the next ten years, and Florida needs to get its fair share. The 2020 Census data will determine how Florida will forecast future transportation needs, draw school district boundaries, and plan budgets for the government at all levels.

Planning health and education services for people with disabilities, the location of new schools, and planning for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and the location of other health services will be determined by census data.

Everyone living in a household, documented or undocumented, should be included in responses to the 2020 Census. The census will ask for the following information:

1. Number of people at the address. We use this question to collect an accurate count of people at each address.

2. Any additional people who are living or staying at an address: We ask this question to ensure that everyone living at an address is counted.

3. Owner/renter. We ask about whether a home is owned or rented to create statistics about homeownership and renters. Homeownership rates serve as an indicator of the nation’s economy.

4. Phone number. We ask for a phone number in case we need to contact you. We will never share your phone number and will contact you only if needed for official Census Bureau business.

5. Name. We ask for names to ensure everyone in the household is counted. Your name also helps us keep ancestry records. If you have a large family, this helps to remember who has been included in the questionnaire. Make sure you include children under 5.

6. Gender. We ask about the gender of each person to create statistics about males and females. Census data about gender is used in planning and funding government programs and in evaluating other government programs and policies to ensure they fairly and equitably serve the needs of all genders.

7. Age and date of birth. We ask about age and date of birth to understand the size and characteristics of different age groups and to present other data by age.

8. Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. The data collected in this question is needed by federal agencies to monitor anti-discrimination provisions in U.S. law.

9. Race. We ask about a person’s race to create statistics about race and to present other statistics by race groups.

10. Whether a person lives or stays somewhere else, we ask this question to ensure individuals are not included at multiple addresses.

11. Relationship. We ask about the relationship of each person in a household to one central person to create estimates about families, households, and other groups.

Here are the self-response rates as of May 14, according to the map: National, 59.3%; Florida 56.9%, City of Sarasota 53.3%. Counties: Sarasota, 60.8%; Manatee, 53.7%; DeSoto 42.6%; and Charlotte, 59.5%. We are halfway to 100%. You can track these statistics daily at

Take 10 to 15 minutes to self-respond to the 2020 census at and help shape our future.

Census 2020 special coverage comes from Aspirations Journalism, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation and the Herald-Tribune Media Group to inform, inspire, and engage the community.

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