LIVE OAK — In an effort to ensure that all Suwannee County residents are counted in next year’s Census, workers are canvassing the county.
Census Bureau employees, known as listers, have been out in the community checking addresses.
One of those listers, McAlpin resident John Koch told the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners at its Oct. 1 meeting that that effort has been a success.
Koch said more than 90 percent of the homes and addresses in the county have been counted for next year’s census.
But Koch said that was just the first step in ensuring that the county does not lose out on residents being counted or the money that leads to in the census.
Rather, now that is up to everybody to take part in the census.
“Suwannee County has been undercounted for the past 30 years,” he said. “Every one of you that is in this room now, I’m charging you to tell your friends and neighbors that when that form comes, fill it out because it is very important that we be counted for many reasons.”
According to the Suwannee County Economic Development office and the county’s Complete County Committee, more than 200,000 Floridians were missed in the 2000 Census or $225 million in lost federal grants and aid to the state.
Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads, and businesses. In an effort to make sure Suwannee County is properly counted, Koch and other listers are certifying addresses and can be identified via government-issued identification badges (with embedded name and photo), briefcase bags, and tablets that indicate their official affiliation with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Listers may also knock on doors and ask a few questions associated with the physical address and potential additional living quarters on the respective property for inclusion in the census. They should introduce themselves as a U.S. Census employee, show their official government identification (badge with name and photo) and explain the purpose of their visit.
If requested, listers will produce an additional form of photo identification for identity confirmation.
The Complete Count Committee said it is important that residents work with the address canvassers to help them do their job. Address canvassing operations will continue through the month of October.