ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- At the St. Louis Area Food Bank, an inaccurate count of the city’s population could be detrimental for years to come.

“It could mean less funding, it could mean less resources for individuals that desperately need it. This is our 45th year of serving the community and this is the most need we’ve ever seen,” said Ryan Farmer, a spokesperson for St. Louis Area Food Bank.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone, from our food pantries to the 2020 Census.

“There were a lot of efforts to get out the count but of course with COVID-19 happening, a lot of those efforts have been suspended and pushed back,” explained Alex Rankin, with Missouri Foundation for Health.

They are one of the groups trying to ensure every person is counted for on the 2020 Census.

One of the issues, St. Louis is one of the historically under-counted communities.

Right now St. Louis has a self-response rate of 49.5%, compared to 61.9% nationally and 62.1% in Missouri.

In 2010, the city of St. Louis had a response rate of 56.7%. The problem is, the fewer people counted, the fewer federal dollars come to the city. Census data will help determine funding for everything from schools to roads to healthcare over the next decade.

“For every adult and child we failed to count in Missouri in 2010 we lost out on $1,300 per person per year,” explained Rankin.

For Census Regional Director Marilyn Sanders, it’s all about education. The census can be filled out online, by mail or over the phone. It’s simple and it’s safe says Sanders. She wants people to understand their information and data will not be shared.

“The most important point is to count everyone in your home,” she explained.

For those that fail to fill out the form online, by mail or by phone, Census workers will begin door-knocking in August. But they will be armed with PPE and will ensure it’s done safely.

October 31 is the deadline. Head to 2020census.gov now if you haven’t filed out your census.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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