BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The city of Baltimore is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to participating in the 2020 United States Census, data shows.

Michael Cook with the U.S. Census Bureau said Baltimore’s self-response rate sits at 52 percent, ten percent below the national average.

Statewide, Maryland ranks 13th among the 50 states with a response rate of 66.7 percent, which is close to four points above the national average of 62.8 percent.

The state ranks fifth in Internet response and Carroll County leads the state in response rate at 78.4 percent, which ranks 25th of the 3,200 United States counties.

There’s still time to self-respond to avoid getting a knock on the door from a census worker in the coming weeks.

“If you don’t want someone knocking on your door, please respond to the 2020 Census as soon as physically possible,” Cook said.

The Constitution requires a count of every person in the country every ten years. That data is used to divide up federal funding and determine Congressional representation.

The data will not be shared with other federal agencies, Cook said.

“Please include everyone who lived in your house as of April 1, 2020, regardless of whether they’re related to you. We don’t share that information with housing authorities and things of that nature,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Larry Hogan urged Marylanders to participate as required by law.

“Our administration is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that every single Marylander is counted this year,” said Governor Hogan in a statement. “Every single response directly impacts the services our communities receive—funding for schools, hospitals, roads, and other emergency and essential services all rely on our responses. I urge every single Maryland resident to fulfill their civic duty and help shape our future.”

There are several statewide and local initiatives underway to encourage citizens to fill out the Census by October 31, including each of the following:

  • Coordination among state agencies to leverage all resources to reach Marylanders
  • Census messaging on buses, billboards, and radio stations
  • A weekly Census newsletter that reaches more than 41,000 recipients
  • Social media messaging, including weekly Census Champions
  • Assistance to local Complete Count Committees to find ways of developing language-specific messaging in order to reach hard-to-count populations
  • Engagement with business and faith leaders
  • Participation in local events, including one this past weekend in Wicomico County, where the Maryland Department of Planning worked with local residents to fill out their 2020 Census

For every citizen uncounted in Maryland, that represents $18,250 in un-accessed federal funding for programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), school construction, emergency preparedness, and transportation projects, officials said. Census data also informs reapportionment and redistricting while ensuring the state receives appropriate representation in Congress.

“While the Census is about $1.5 trillion dollars in federal spending, including $16 billion to Maryland, the Census is really about us as Marylanders,” said Planning Secretary Rob McCord. “The Census is about who we are as a state and how many people reside in each community. We count people, not just citizens, and this is our one chance for the next 10 years to paint an accurate portrait of Maryland and each of our communities.”

For more information on the Census, visit census.maryland.gov.

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