With New Jersey’s estimated revenue loss in excess of $10 billion due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents to complete their 2020 Census forms.
So far, about 62.5% of residents in the Garden State have participated, which is better than the national average of 60.4%. Out of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, New Jersey ranks 20th for its response rate.
That’s good, Murphy said, but it could be better—especially since federal funding to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic is sorely needed.
The once-in-a-decade count, he said during his May 28 daily COVID-19 media briefing, “determines whether or not New Jersey will receive billions of dollars in much-needed federal funding.”
“And, if you don’t get counted, it means that we leave money on the table that will go to some other state,” Murphy said.
On an almost weekly basis, Murphy has reminded New Jersey’s 9 million residents to fill out their forms, which asks Americans to answer questions on their background and residence to determine population, how citizens are represented in Congress, how legislative districts are drawn and how federal aid is distributed for needs such as roads, schools, healthcare, emergency services and housing.
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli emphasized recently “how important the Census is on the health” of New Jersey.
The data, she said, “informs the number of community health centers built, and the location of hospital facilities and resources for improvements, how many children can access health services.”
“When communities are not accurately counted, that means less federal funding for healthcare services and nutrition and health programs,” she said. “For example, community health center program investments depend on census-driven indicators to determine which areas are underserved. Family planning funding levels are driven by population counts from the census. Funding support and voucher prices for our New Jersey WIC program, which provides nutritious food for low or moderate-income pregnant women, new mothers and children younger than five years of age, is impacted by the census.”
Below National Average
According to Persichilli, based on the 2010 Census results, New Jersey was given $45 billion in federal funding for programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, children’s health insurance, community healthcare centers and elder care programs.
“This type of support is going to be more important than ever, given the health, social and economic impacts caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
During the last Census ten years agao, 67.6% of New Jersey responded, which fell below the national rate of 74%.
Undercounted in 2010
“We know for a fact that we were undercounted in 2010. And because we were, we lost out on literally tens of billions of dollars in federal aid and grants,” Murphy said last week. “As we begin our restart and recovery, that’s a hole we have to work even harder to pull ourselves out of.”
In an effort to help New Jersey recover from the outbreak, which sickened more than 161,000 people and caused over 11,700 deaths and shut down the state for three months, Murphy has proposed borrowing up to $14 billion. Without funding to offset losses, the state could see layoffs and service cuts at the state and local level, according to the governor.
The plan is under consideration by the state legislature.
How is North Jersey Doing?
Within the Garden State, Morris, Bergen and Warren are among the counties with the highest response rates to the 2020 Census as of now, while Hudson, Essex and Passaic fall below average.
This year marks the first time the Census has been made available online, which accounts for 53.3% of New Jersey’s total responses currently.
The Census can be completed online at 2020Census.gov, by calling 844-330-2020 or by mail until Oct. 31. Click here for more information.
Several towns in North Jersey are among the top in the state for its participation, so far.
- Glen Rock (86.1%)
- Oradell (82.3%)
- Mountain Lakes (81.4%)
- River Edge (80.5%)
- Waldwick (80.2%)
- Oakland (80%)
- Ringwood (79.7%)
- Haworth (79.5%)
- North Caldwell (79.1%)
- Ridgewood (78.8%%)
- Ho-Ho-Kus (78.7%)
- Hillsdale (78.3%)
- Ramsey (77.8%)