Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari urges residents to complete the 2020 Census

Sun Oct 04 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Deadline for 2020 Census Oct. 5, 2020

With the deadline for the 2020 Census extended by about five days to midnight Oct. 5, Ocean County residents, who have not filled out the simple questionnaire are strongly urged to do so now.

"Take advantage of this extra time," Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari urged residents. "This is an opportunity to get those last minute responses in and have them counted. I cannot stress the importance of this enough."

From the Census questionnaires sent in the mail and handed out door-to-door, as well as promotion of its importance through social media posts and public events, the Census staff has reached 100 percent of Ocean County's residents, Vicari noted.

"Now, it is time that our residents give 100 percent in return and fill out the questionnaire," he said.

The United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently announced a new target date of Oct. 5 to conclude the 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations. Self-response will be open online, by phone and paper up to midnight on Monday, Oct. 5.

Filling out the 2020 Census questionnaire is simple and confidential. Anyone who still has not completed their Census can still self-respond by going to my2020census.gov, calling the hotline in English at 844-330-2020 or Spanish at 844-468-2020.

"If you don't fill out the Census you are hurting yourself, your family and your neighbors as we stand to lose millions of dollars that are based on population count and this will not change for a decade," said Vicari. "It also risks the possibility of New Jersey losing a Congressional seat."

Census data affects the allocation of more than $45 billion, or about $5,160 per New Jersey resident, in annual federal funding. Communities receive funds annually for programs and services relating to health, education, housing, infrastructure and much more based on Census data. These programs are critical for a community's most vulnerable members including young children, aging adults, people with disabilities and illnesses and more.

The recent $106 million federal CARES Act aid package to fight the COVID-19 crisis and the Superstorm Sandy Disaster Recovery Grants received by Ocean County are two examples of the kind of federal programs that can be impacted by the Census.

Vicari said that everyone living in the United States has the right to be counted in the 2020 Census and the data is all strictly confidential.

"Every part of the Census, from enumeration to the Census data itself, is protected by Federal Law under Title 13," Vicari said. "The information on the census questionnaire cannot be used for any other purpose or shared with any other institutions or agencies.

"With just days left, if you have not filled out your Census yet, it is important that you do so right now," Vicari said.