FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Cooperation with the 2020 Census has been “underwhelming” in Florham Park, said county officials today in urging more people in the township to complete Census forms.

The county freeholders listed the township as one of three in Morris County where “the count is low,” and they said failure to participate in the Census could hamper the county’s ability to get federal grant money, including funds to help deal with COVID-19.

“Morris County's response to the 2020 Census count has been one of the strongest in the state, with Morris second only to Hunterdon County, by a fraction of a percentage point (74.3 to 74.0),” said the board in a statement. “However, there are pockets of population across the county where Census response has been underwhelming, with an effort now underway to make sure residents in those towns understand the importance of being counted.”

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Not Alone in Holding Out

In addition to Florham Park, the freeholders said the Census count is low in Boonton, Harding and Parsippany. But they also pointed to other municipalities that have some room for Census participation improvement.

“There are smaller segments of Census holdouts in Butler, Dover, Madison, Morristown, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Mount Arlington, Mt. Olive, Netcong, Rockaway Township, Wharton, and Victory Gardens,” said the freeholders.

"We need to be fully counted, and that means all residents from all of our towns, so Morris County is not shortchanged in getting federal dollars for county programs over the next decade,'' said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. "Filling out the Census is safe, easy and very important, so please take a few minutes if you have not done it yet.''

Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo said reluctance among some residents to answer the Census questionnaire "has long-term negative ramifications on federal aid we will receive for housing, childcare, education, senior and disabled programs, and for transportation, and county road and bridge projects, among many others.” DeFillippo is a member of the Morris County Complete Count Committee.

The officials said census counters will be visiting homes of Census laggards this week and through Sept. 30.

Missed the Cut

Census figures show Morris County has about 492,000 residents, said the freeholders. “That is just 8,000 short of the half-million mark, which would have made the county eligible for nearly $90 million in direct federal CARES Act aid from the federal government to help finance the county's COVID-19 response,” the noted.

They also stressed that Passaic and Camden counties, “with populations of 501,826 and 506,343 -- barely above the half-million mark -- each are getting $88 million in direct federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, while Morris County received no direct aid.”

"This shows just how vitally important it is to get every Morris County resident counted. It makes a real difference, '' said Freeholder Tayfun Selen.

The freeholders said people can complete the Census online at https://my2020census.gov/.