Ocean County, NJ-   THE 2020 CENSUS is entering the home stretch and Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari reminded everyone to please complete their census questionnaire.

            “An accurate Census count is incredibly important to Ocean County and will help determine the amount of federal and state aid that we receive for the next decade,” Vicari said. “There are less than 100 days left and we ask that anyone who has not yet completed their Census forms to please do so.”

The Census Bureau declared the week of July 27 thru August 2 as “Push Week,” in an effort to persuade Americans to complete the forms.

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 “We’re making a big push to remind residents to fill out their forms before Census workers begin visiting homes later in August,” Vicari said. “You can also submit your Census online at 2020CENSUS.GOV, by phone (844-330-2020), or by mail.”Generally, Ocean County residents have done a good job in returning their Census forms.

Most Ocean County towns are close to or have exceeded their 2010 final self-response rates.  Ocean County overall has a 62.4% response rate as of July 22, which is slightly higher than the national response rate of 62.3%.

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement,” Vicari said. “We could lose millions of dollars in federal money if we don’t provide an accurate count.”Vicari said the recent $106 million CARE Act for COVID-19 relief and Superstorm Sandy aid are examples of federal outlays that are least partially based on Census numbers.

Statewide, Census data is used for the allocation of more than $45 billion in annual federal funding for services relating to health, education, housing infrastructure and other programs.Vicari said these programs are critical for the most vulnerable members of our communities, including young children, aging adults and people with disabilities and illnesses.“We are talking about $5,000 per New Jersey resident per year,” he said.

If statewide numbers are not accurate, there’s also the chance New Jersey could lose a Congressional seat, he added. Vicari also asked that residents who may spend the colder months in Florida or other southern states to please fill out the New Jersey Census form.“For our snowbirds I would ask them to fill out the forms for the state in which they spend the most time, which in most cases is New Jersey,” he said.