Photo: Josh Taylor, communications manager and public information officer for north port

North Port, a Sleeping Giant Ahead in the Census Count

Posted on April 06, 2020 by Josh Taylor, communications manager and public information officer for North Port
Fee-fi-fo-fum, North Port knows how to get things done. At just 60 years old, a sleeping giant of a city with a grandiose voice has risen.

North Port is that giant, now the largest municipality in Sarasota County, both in land and in population. The behemoth — at 104 square miles wide and more than 73,000 strong — is bellowing for good reason.

It’s no more evident than in the early self-reporting numbers of those taking the 2020 U.S. Census. North Port appears to be the first city of any size in Florida to pass 50 percent participation. That means more than 36,000 North Porters have already been counted, just from clicking or tapping on a few questions at That’s a big accomplishment.

North Port is dedicated to informing residents of the importance of taking the five- to 10-minute questionnaire: No magic beans needed.

Census data influence how billions in federal funding are spent toward infrastructure, roadways, and hospitals. Those sure sound like North Port’s needs.

Participation in the census can also help with families in need and other social services. The data is even used to determine Florida’s number of seats in the House of Representatives. Federal money, help, and support might be pretty important — especially considering the recent pandemic.

If you drive around the city today, you will find more than 30 signs and banners strewn across town asking residents to make sure that “North Port Counts.” The campaign is the brainchild of the city’s Complete Count Committee. We’ve had a public forum during which dozens came out to hear how their organizations could benefit from residents being counted.

A gargantuan part of the campaign involves ensuring that the faith-based, business- and homeowner-association leaders are involved. More than 23,000 notices went to homes in water bills, reminders in the North RePort newsletter stuffed in every mailbox. Push notifications through the North RePort City app, and constant social media reminders on city platforms are a colossal help, too. You simply can’t miss it. The cost? Around $1,200 and, of course, some staff time.

However, you can have all the tools in the world, but you must have a receptive, educated community willing to understand the importance and take the time to follow through. Those who call North Port home make up the perfect recipe. At a median age of around 44, the educated, working-class families in the city are willing to do their part. New community members in North Port’s West Villages are organized and ready to bring new ideas. Those who have been around for decades are proud to see the city blossom while working to keep it special. It’s a tremendous formula for success that reaches far beyond some quick, yet important, online questions.

In the end, though, it might just be community pride pushing the numbers up. We challenged our residents to be a part in this process, and they’ve responded, literally. We want to be No. 1 in the state. Maybe the country. We’re challenging our neighbors, too. All those roads and needs in nearby communities benefit us all. North Port is, after all, a kindness community. You can just call us a gentle giant.

You can find more information on the census and North Port efforts at

Josh Taylor is the communications manager and public information officer for North Port.

For more information, go to

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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