By AFRO Staff

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced on April 29 the launch of a new dashboard developed by the Baltimore City Planning Department to track the city’s Census response rate by census tract. Mayor Young issued the following statement:

“The Census count is critical to Baltimore’s future – it impacts how much funding we get for programs that cover health care, education, housing, economic development, and transportation,” Mayor Young said. “The dashboard helps our residents see our completion numbers so that we can all work together and make sure every City resident is counted.”

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, the city has continued advancing its efforts to ensure every Baltimorean is counted through Census 2020. In keeping with social distancing practices, residents have the option of completing the Census online or over the phone.

Currently, Baltimore City has a 44.6 percent self-response rate to the Census, which is higher than major cities such as Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. Baltimore City is aiming for a 73-percent response rate.

More than 50 State and Federal programs rely on Census data for funding as the Census helps leaders understand community needs. The Census also determines how the City is represented in Congress, the Maryland General Assembly, and City Council. In response, the City deployed a robust strategy to ensure all residents are counted

On April 1, the City launched its #BmoreCensusChallenge Social Media Contest, asking residents to create a Census 2020 themed social media post — with the hashtag #BmoreCensusChallenge — and to tag at least three friends and the Baltimore City Department of Planning’s social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Participants will be awarded prizes for both English and non-English posts.

Historically, Baltimore is undercounted, which leads to underrepresentation. For every person uncounted in the Census, the City leaves $1,800 of federal funding on the table each year, amounting to $18,000 over 10 years. Responses to the Census will inform how more than $675 billion in public funding flows into community services, health clinics, Head Start, historically black colleges and universities, Community Development Block Grants, WIC, programs that support minority-owned businesses, and more.

Residents can complete the Census online at https://2020census.gov, or by phone at 844-330-2020. The online form is comprised of nine questions, takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and is available in 13 languages. Learn more at www.census2020.baltimorecity.gov.