EAST ORANGE/ORANGE, NJ - The weather was nice, the music was groovy, and census representatives, council and community members were on deck of the Census 2020 float. Two weekends in a row, citizens of the Oranges could see the fun reminder to complete their census riding through the neighborhoods.

The Census is a count of the population that happens every ten years. The count is used to determine how many people live in each municipality and state. The number of people counted is then used by the government to further determine how much money your neighborhood will receive for roads, infrastructure, schools, etc. The need is all based on population size.

The count also determines how many elected state and federal representatives are needed across the state's geographical area. In the past, New Jersey has lost representatives of Congress, the State Senate and Assembly, all because people did not fill out the census. This incomplete count resulted in the population being recorded less than what it really was. 

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Both East Orange and Orange currently have approximately a 53% Census completion rate. According to the history of low census response rates in East Orange and Orange, a 50% and higher response rate is considered to be record-breaking highs for the two municipalities. However, elected officials and community activists say as a matter of social justice, 50% is still not good enough, as history also shows gross underfunding and representation of primarily black and brown communities. 

Everyone who lived in the US on April 1, 2020, is required to be counted: Documented and undocumented citizens, homeowners, renters, roommates, neighbors, babies, children, teens, seniors, etc. should all be counted in the Census.

Online responses will be accepted at www.2020census.gov until Sept. 30th. Filling out the Census only takes 10 minutes to complete. 

TAPinto East Orange/Orange is an online newspaper serving East Orange and Orange as a part of a network of more than 80 franchised local news sites in NY, NJ, and FL. TAPinto recently won 3 of 5 excellence in local journalism awards by the Center for Cooperative Media in NJ. We are accredited by the NJ State Police, which is done through the New Jersey Press Association in which we are long-standing members. We take pride in providing the community with objective news, fact-finding reporting while featuring positive stories and awareness campaigns daily. Got a news tip or opinion? Interested in advertising? Looking to write a column or to provide freelance reporting? Email us at YourNews@tapinto.netSign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.