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Nancy Rangel, president and CEO of the Hispanic Business Alliance, stands for a photo outside her office in Tyler.

The city of Tyler has reached a 57.5% response rate to the 2020 Census, compared to 2010’s 66.1% response rate.

Tyler residents however are in luck, as the deadline to complete the census has been extended to October 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bianca Gamez, media specialist of the Dallas Regional Census Office, said filling out the census is easier than it has ever been, as people are able to access it online or by phone in addition to the mail-in option.

“We’ve adjusted operations due to the pandemic, and it’s never been easier than it is now,” Gamez said. “You can complete the census over the phone or online without ever needing to meet with a census taker.”

The census can be accessed online at 2020census.gov or via phone call at 844-330-2020.

Gamez said filling out the census is more important now than ever as the data is utilized in the distribution of federal funding, the planning of where to locate new businesses and strategizing the locations of new schools and hospitals.

The census is taken every 10 years, and those who do not fill out the census are not represented in the data that determines the future development of the community, Gamez said.

“Responding to the census helps the community get their fair share of funding,” Gamez said. “Billions of dollars are distributed to the states and communities each year based on census data. Census data also creates jobs, housing emergency facilities, schools, roads and hospitals. I encourage everyone to utilize the census to build a better future. You lose funding and your voice by not doing it. The impact is monumental.”

Gamez noted the importance of representing the growth that has occurred in Tyler during the past decade.

“The city of Tyler and Smith County have grown more residents to count, and the data should represent that growth,” Gamez said. “The city of Tyler is one of our biggest and most important areas in East Texas and we want to make sure all of East Texas is heard. Complete it and respond today, it really will shape the future of tomorrow. Ten years from now, think how much you helped community grow by making yourself count.”

President and CEO of the Hispanic Business Alliance Nancy Rangel, who serves as chair of the Complete Count Committee, reiterated the importance of filling out the census, and encouraged East Texans to join the “You Count East Texas” Facebook page.

“We urge everyone to complete the census and make sure they are being counted,” said Rangel. “Our final responses to the Census impact us on a daily basis. From healthcare programs, early learning, schools, nursing homes, roads and highways, and emergency services. It is critical that we respond to ensure that we continue to receive these services within our community. As Complete Count Committee Chair, join us in ensuring that we make East Texas Count! For more information or on how to become one of our East Texas local community and business partners, please feel free to visit the census website or visit our “You Count East Texas” Facebook page. Let’s make East Texas count in the Census 2020!”

“You Count East Texas” can be accessed at facebook.com/YouCountEastTexas.

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