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Freeholders target underperforming Morris towns in 2020 census

Special Focus on Boonton, Harding, Florham Park, and Parsippany

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County’s response to the 2020 Census count has been one of the strongest in the state, with Morris second only to Hunterdon County, by a fraction of a percentage point (74.3 to 74.0).

However, there are pockets of population across the county where Census response has been underwhelming, with an effort now underway to make sure residents in those towns understand the importance of being counted.

The count is low in sections of Boonton, Harding, Florham Park, and Parsippany.

In addition, there are smaller segments of Census holdouts in Butler, Dover, Madison, Morristown, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Mount Arlington, Mt. Olive, Netcong, Rockaway Township, Wharton, and Victory Gardens

“We need to be fully counted, and that means all residents from all of our towns, so Morris County is not shortchanged in getting federal dollars for county programs over the next decade,” Freeholder Director Deborah Smith siad. “Filling out the Census is safe, easy and very important, so please take a few minutes if you have not done it yet.”

“Not being fully counted has long-term negative ramifications on federal aid we will receive for housing, childcare, education, senior and disabled programs, and for transportation, and county road and bridge projects, among many others,” Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo said, who is a member of the Morris County Complete Count Committee.

You can fill out the Census online.  For those who have not responded, Census enumerators have started visiting homes in Morris County this week, and will visit through Sept 30.

Key Reasons to Get a Full Count:

  • More than 300 federal spending programs rely on data derived from the Census to guide the geographic distribution of funds to states, counties, cities, and households.
  • Programs that are vital to Morris County, such as Medicare, assistance to older residents and children, transportation and housing programs, community health and environmental programs, and bridge repairs and replacements, among others, are dependent on federal aid.
  • Business and industry use Census data to help determine where to locate their stores and franchises, bringing in new and important jobs.
  • Our state’s representation in Congress also is determined by the Census, with 435 seats in the House of Representatives determined by the Census.

Population Causes County to Miss Out on Federal COVID-19 Aid

Currently, Morris Count’s Census figures indicate the county has about 492,000 residents. That is just 8,000 short of the half-million mark, which would have made the county eligible for nearly $90 million in direct federal CARES Act aid from the federal government to help finance the county’s COVID-19 response.

Passaic and Camden counties, with populations of 501,826 and 506,343 — barely above the half-million mark — each are getting $88 million in direct federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, while Morris County received no direct aid. Being below the 500,000 population mark could have resulted from an undercount in 2010.

To make sure Moris County gets a full Census count, the Board of Freeholders and community representatives from across the county are urging all county residents, from all communities, nationalities, religions, races, and ethnic groups, to complete the 2020 Census this Spring.

“This shows just how vitally important it is to get every Morris County resident counted. It makes a real difference,” said Freeholder Tayfun Selen, who also is a member of the Morris County Complete Count Committee.

The county’s Census Committee has stressed three key points about the Census: Filling out the Census is safe, easy and important.

  • Safety: Census data will be secure. Your data will not be shared. There is no citizenship question on the Census. You will not be asked for Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or other very personal data;
  • Ease: You can fill out the Census online this year for the first time. You also can easily respond by mail. Also, the Census is available in many languages.
  • Importance: The Census count determines how much money the federal government allocates for programs in our state and county, and our representation in Congress

You can complete the Census online even if you did not get one in the mail by clicking here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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