Mayor Strickland shares 2020 Census Community Challenge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Have you finished your online census form that makes sure you and your household are counted? Census taking only happens every 10 years and it’s the law.

FOX13 spoke with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland Wednesday. He said he has a plan to make sure Memphis and Shelby County don’t miss out on the benefits that come with being counted. There are prizes for neighborhoods that participate in the census.

As of May 11, Shelby County ranked number 54 in the state on the census response scale. Only half the population here has responded through the online U. S. Census form - about 55%.

If it were a letter grade it would be a D.

“People like you to knock on their door or go to church or neighborhood festivities but we can’t do that now during coronavirus,” said Strickland.

But cities like Memphis can’t afford to lose ground or federal dollars. Poor children, poor families, highways, and public transportation are all tied to billions of dollars and depend on our responses.

“Absolutely!” said Strickland. “Most federal dollars are distributed across the country to cities based on population. Well, the way they count your population is the way you respond in the census.”

Pandemic or not, the Mayor said now is the time to respond.

"We're gonna do street parades through neighborhoods with cars, try to draw interest, competition with neighborhoods with less than 50% and give a prize at the end and maybe give a security camera that every neighborhood wants," he said.

The census can take less than 10 minutes to complete online. The deadline has been extended to October 31.