Census workers easing fears, promoting new online option

The New Year brings a new decade and a new count of every man, woman, and child in the country.

The 2020 census will soon be underway and this year there's a new option to fill out the survey online.

But there are still challenges facing Census takers.

"There are enormous amounts of sociable reasons where communication gaps were present and where folks who needed to be counted the most where missed," said Sarasota City Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie of the 2010 Census.

Freeland Eddie heads the city of Sarasota's Census committee. She said sometimes people just don't want to be found. 

"When the government comes to your home to count how many people live there, there is this emotional breakdown that happens," said Freeland Eddie. 

She points out that some people are also too nervous or afraid. 

"The fear is very understandable but at the same time we have to do a really good job at easing those fears and ensuring people [know] that the Census is very important and everyone needs to get counted," she said. 

Luz Corcuera with Unidos Now in Sarasota will work with the local census committee to ease concerns of the Latino community. They've been historically undercounted in the Census. Corcuera will help distribute flyers and information on the importance of participating. 

"Anybody who doesn't get counted means less dollars for our region," said Corcuera. 

That can add up to millions lost in government funds. In 2010 Florida Tax Watch said Florida had the 4th largest undercount in the census. 

"As a community, those dollars will support health care, job creation, services for children and the elderly and families," she said. 

This year, a new option allows you to fill out your Census form online, which leaders hope will lead to a more accurate count. 

"It is important that we think as a community," said Corcuera.