Be counted: complete your census today

By Lee Hayes Byron and Kevin O’Horan
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

We’re well into the 2020 Census, and, thanks to your efforts, Sarasota County is currently at a 62 percent self-response rate. That’s about 3.5 percentage points above the state rate, and also tracking about a percentage point higher than the national rate. In the 2010 census, our county had a 62.3 percent self-response rate.

2020 Census graphic from Sarasota County GovernmentThat’s good, but we don’t want to let up now. Census data affects more than just congressional and state legislative district boundaries. It determines how more than $675 billion is spent supporting state, county and community programs, including funding for children’s health insurance, nutrition and education, housing assistance, infrastructure and Medicaid. It also affects Extension directly through federal funding for agricultural research and Extension nationwide, as well as for programs we support like SNAP food assistance and many more.

Given slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, federal officials have extended the deadline for completing the 2020 census to Oct. 31, from the original July 31 planned end.

So, you have a little more time to help ensure that Sarasota County has the highest response rate possible. If you have not responded, there’s still time to complete your census online at And if you have already completed yours, thank you and please help us make sure all your family and friends have done the same. The simple steps to share with them are below.

Here’s how you can participate in the 2020 Census:

  • This census will be the first to request that all responses be entered online. Complete your form at
  • Use your computer, tablet or smartphone to connect to (free Wi-Fi access available at any Sarasota County public library parking lot).
  • If you can’t respond online, call toll-free to 800-923-8282 for help completing the census or to request a traditional form.

If you like exploring data or are even a bit competitive, the Census Bureau has created an interesting online mapping tool that lets you track response rates across the country.

Census website screenshot
Census response data for Sarasota County, by census tract [CREDIT: (June 19, 2020]
Available at, you can see how Florida compares to the nation as whole and to other states, check how Sarasota County stands up to other counties, and even dive down into the response rate for cities/towns or to census tracts. Within Sarasota County, residents in the City of North Port are leading the way with nearly three in four households having already responded.

The importance of this year’s census cannot be overstated. Please help us spread the word and encourage everyone in our community to get counted.


Posted: June 19, 2020

Category: Home Management, Work & Life
Tags: Census, Census Bureau, Pgm_Admin

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