Florida International University

More Liberty City residents have returned their Census forms, but the neighborhood still lags behind the rest of Miami. Elsewhere in Miami, the response to the Census is also weak, lagging behind the county, state and country.

Information collected in the Census determines how much federal aid goes to communities, a vital source of support in Liberty City.

About 59 percent of Liberty City residents have mailed in Census forms as of this week, compared to about 64 percent in the 2000 Census. In the Liberty Square area, though, only about 53 percent of residents have responded.

Overall, Miami's response rate is about  64 percent and Miami-Dade County's about 69 percent. About 72 percent of Florida residents have been counted, about the same as the nationwide figure.

Census workers are now going house to house to increase those figures. Many residents are reluctant to cooperate, fearing the information may be used by authorities, but Census data is confidential by law for 72 years.

The once-a-decade Census determines how many representatives each state has in Congress and, thus, the state's influence on national priorities and spending.

Perhaps more important, government uses Census numbers to decide how much federal aid goes to cities, counties and states.

In 2008, Miami-Dade County received about $900 million in federal aid, roughly $379 per person, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan Washington, D.C., think tank.

That means for every 10,000 people that go uncounted, roughly the number missed in Liberty City, according to one study, the county loses nearly $4 million extra dollars.


Census Response Rate Percentage


2000                     64%                      62%                     67%                   69%           72%
2010                     59%                      64%                     69%                   72%           72%