September 11, 2020
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball highlighted Howard County’s 2020 Census response rate of 79.9%, which has surpassed the 2010 rate of 76.7%. The rate is 34th highest in the nation out of 3,215 counties and 2nd highest in Maryland. Howard County’s internet response rate of 74.7% is the best in the state.
“We take pride in being a state and national leader in census completion and self-reporting, with more than 74% of our residents completing their census online,” said Ball. “But we will not stop here. We’re in the last leg of this race and need to push ourselves. We are working to exceed our 2010 final response rate of 81% - and we’re nearly there. For every person not counted, we lose out of $18,000 in federal funding. Especially now, these funds are critical to support our growing population, provide vital government services like emergency personnel, and create a high quality of life for all who live and work here. We have 20 final days to make sure our message is heard – the Census is safe, easy and important.”
Howard County worked with dozens of officials from its government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, religious organizations, fraternities, and sororities, and community advocacy groups for its 'Complete Count Committee' initiative. This committee helped with shaping our messaging, supporting translation services for materials directed to non-English speaking families and communities, and worked to ensure that our communications were culturally sensitive while honoring Howard County's diversity, all while working to distribute information and promote the importance and confidentiality of the census.
“We’re grateful to have a diverse, collaborative group of neighbors and friends who genuinely understand the value of the census and its impact on our communities,” said Jacqueline R. Scott, Director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. “We could not have achieved the numbers and the outreach we did without their assistance, and we look forward to engaging these stakeholder groups in the future to showcase how census participation takes shape in the form of needed programs and resources.”
Howard County also joined multiple complaints against the Trump Administration for their restrictive census policies. Howard County joined an amicus brief to stay the Administration’s rushed plan to complete the Census by September 30th, when it was originally scheduled to be completed on October 30th following the COVID-19 pandemic. The case is currently pending. Additionally, Howard County joined a lawsuit against the Administration for its policy attempting to “exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” The exclusion of undocumented persons would significantly impact the apportionment of congressional districts and the electoral college. The three-judge panel in this case entered yesterday the decision that ruled the president’s directive to exclude undocumented persons from the census count as unlawful and commanded that the presidential directive not be implemented.
“The impact of the census leads back to the health and well-being of individuals and families for years,” said Mike Mitchell, CEO of Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network. “Everyone missed doesn’t just affect a person, it affects a generation. We need to do what we can to make sure all are counted.”