City Clerk Sergio Cornelio said getting responses to the US Census has become of utmost importance as the federal government moved back the end date one month last week to Sept. 30 – threatening to put the City in a position of being vastly undercounted and losing millions of federal dollars.
With COVID-19 hitting, the Census schedule had been adjusted, with an end date for counting being Oct. 31. However, last week, with little explanation, the Census Bureau moved the end date to Sept. 30, and with the response rate at only 51.8 percent, the City stands to officially lose population on paper despite growing significantly in reality.
“The Census Bureau has had boots on the ground for a few weeks as enumerators go out and knock on doors and that’s helped a little bit, but to shorten the end date means we only have seven weeks to get our numbers where they were before 10 years ago,” he said. “Our numbers are low and we weren’t able to do the things I wanted to do to raise our count from last time.”
One of the pushes now is to simply not lose ground. Ten years ago, Everett was one of the lowest counted communities in the state, and prior to COVID-19 there was a major push to try to get a huge response from residents by using the new online Census form at community organizations and churches. They had set a goal of 65 percent response, but Cornelio felt he could get up to 70 percent. The current state average is 65.5 percent response. Everett is the third lowest in the state with Lawrence and Chelsea the only lower responses. Boston, however, is only at 53.8 percent response, and Revere is at 54.4 percent.
By getting a larger response, it meant that more funding would come to the City and to the School Department from the federal government. The more people are officially counted, the more money comes to the city. It also affects representation in Congress and the State House.
Now, the strategy is to not lose representation or money, rather than to gain it.
“I’m optimistic, but I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “It’s not just Everett. Unless you’re a really small town in Massachusetts, the majority of municipalities in Massachusetts and every other city in the U.S. will be lower than the number we had 10 years ago. I don’t see it possible…It’s my hope they do something for these communities and at least put us back to where we were so we don’t end up being smaller.” Cornelio said they would attempt to do a last push on Sept. 1 after