The U.S. Census is open until Oct. 31. See how far Baltimore County still has to go in ensuring its population is counted.
BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD — Nearly two out of every five U.S. households nationwide have yet to respond to the U.S. Census, stoking fears that billions of federal dollars could be left on the table — dollars that fund crucial services including during the pandemic.
Nationally, about 61.5 percent of households have responded as of June 26; and in Maryland, 65.7 percent have responded to the census, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's self-response map.
In Baltimore County, 67.8 percent of households have participated in the census so far.
This means more than three out of every 10 households in Baltimore County have not yet been counted.
If 20 percent of Baltimore County's population goes uncounted in the 2020 census, officials say it will lose $305 million per year in federal funding.
The purpose of the once-each-decade count is to help determine where $1.5 trillion in federal funding goes and how many congressional seats each state gets.
The new coronavirus erupted just as the 2020 census was getting underway.
In the wake of mass layoffs and unprecedented economic damage, studies are projecting that more than 4 million people could be undercounted this year.
Should these households not respond, billions of dollars that fund crucial services before, during and after the coronavirus pandemic will be lost. Services include hospitals, Head Start programs, school lunches and summer lunch programs, Medicaid, food stamps and dozens more.
Historically, people of color, children, senior citizens, undocumented immigrants, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, Native Americans in tribal areas, the homeless and low-income people are among the least likely to be counted accurately in the census.
Both the National Urban League and the NALEO Educational Fund have sounded the alarm that communities with large concentrations of black and Hispanic residents are trailing the rest of the nation in answering the 2020 questionnaire, the Associated Press reported.
A more detailed analysis of response rates in late May and early June conducted by the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York's Graduate Center showed that neighborhoods with concentrations of black residents had a self-response rate of 51 percent, compared with 53.8 percent for Hispanic-concentrated neighborhoods and 65.5 percent for white-dominant neighborhoods.
These populations are also among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Young people and low-income workers are bearing the brunt of coronavirus-related layoffs, according to one study. So are women and people of color, Department of Labor data says.
This is causing outreach challenges for both the Census Bureau and organizations providing services to impacted communities.
The Census Bureau suspended field operations in March, pulling workers off the streets to protect them from the virus. This also included efforts to drop off census forms at households in rural areas with no traditional addresses.
Workers didn't return until May 4 as part of a phased restart.
The Census Bureau told the Associated Press that it had finished dropping off questionnaire forms in June to almost the 6.8 million mostly rural households across the country.