BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The U.S. Census Bureau began sending out invitations to complete the 2020 Census in March. While Maryland’s response rate is above the national average, officials are urging those who have not responded, to do so.

The U.S. Census helps determine the distribution of resources across the country, and officials say it’s more important now, than ever.

“The numbers that we get, the data that we get, will inform the number of vaccines we may get, the number of hospital beds that are available,” said Robert McCord, Maryland Secretary of Planning. “Public health emergency services all are informed by census data.”

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

At just under 60 percent, Maryland’s response rate is above the national average of 56 percent. Due to COVID-19, the self-response phase has been extended until October 31.

“This is the first time in the history of the census that there are three ways to respond,” McCord said. “You can respond by online, you can respond by phone and you can respond when the form comes.”

The Baltimore City response rate currently sits at just under 46 percent below the national average, but according to Mayor Jack Young, they’re leading many of their peer cities.

“But some are gaining on us,” Mayor Young said. “So we need to maintain our focus to goal of 73 percent household response.”

The city has launched a dashboard to help track the response rate.

“I encourage all residents to use this tool to track their community census response,” Mayor Young added.

What’s on the table in Maryland? $16 billion in funding which will be distributed depending on the census.

$100,000 in grants has been distributed to 30 different minority owned businesses, churches and grass root organizations working to educate the public about the Census.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher

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