By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Census workers hit the streets this week, heading to homes that have not filled out the census. The deadline to respond is the end of September.

Here in South Florida, response has been low. It’s at just 58% in Miami-Dade. The numbers aren’t much better in Broward, where it’s at 59%, and in the Keys, where it’s just shy of 44% filled out the census.

Compare that to Palmetto Bay where nearly 77% responded and Weston where 76% of residents have answered.

“We are getting down to the wire now,” explained Broward Commissioner Nan Rich, head of Broward’s census committee.

She explains how federal funding for many things like transportation, health care and education are tied to an accurate population count.

“It’s $1.5 trillion a year that’s distributed across the country, federal dollars that comes to state and local communities,” she said.

In Broward, businesses are getting involved through the “Show Your Love For Broward” campaign.

Gary Press is CEO of the Lifestyles Media Group.  He sent an email to employees encouraging them to fill out the census — and telling them it’s OK to do it during work hours.

“We’re allowing our folks to take 15, 20 25 minutes, however long it takes them in their work day, to do it during work,” Press said.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo is the county’s census liaison. He said by everyone taking part it lets Washington know how much money the area should get and if we get more representation in Congress.

“We need to get that number up. Our goal, quite honestly, was to get to 80%,” he said.

He said there’s no excuse not to take part.

“This is an obligation as an American. If that doesn’t move you, it’s also biblical. God asked Moses to count. And if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for us,” he said.

To filled out the census, click here. To see how well your city is responding, click here.

Ted Scouten

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