The census can’t wait.

You have until the middle of August to complete your U.S. census form, but why wait?

The census is conducted every 10 years and aims to count every person in the U.S. As of last weekend, Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents were doing OK on completing the census online, but there’s still a long way to go.

As of June 7, some 62.9% of Massachusetts residents and 59.5% of New Hampshire residents had completed the form. The national rate stood at 60.7%, according to 2020Census.gov.

After Aug. 10, any household that hasn’t completed the census will have to be visited by a census worker, a process that will continue until October.

Why is an accurate count important? In any “normal” census period the count in each state and county is used to determine distribution of federal funding. An undercount in a state would mean less money coming from the federal government. With the unknown long-term impact of the pandemic and high unemployment, it’s even more important for states to get their fair share of federal funds.

Lesli Suggs, the president and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, said that, among other things, federal funds are vital when it comes to paying for transportation for foster kids so they can stay in their original schools. That’s important for stability and continuity in education.

“Without an accurate census count, the commonwealth and its child welfare organizations, including The Home for Little Wanderers, risk losing federal dollars that provide services and support for the youth in the state’s care,” said Suggs, a Newburyport resident. “Federal funding allows our programs to provide more comprehensive and robust therapeutic services to our kids, and to be able to serve more kids and families in our communities.”

Pam Nourse, executive director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs, agreed.

“It’s particularly important children with special needs are counted so they can benefit from federally funded service like education, transportation and housing,” she told Public News Service last week.

The pandemic prompted the Census Bureau to delay the deadline for counting everyone by two weeks, but that is meant to give the door-to-door census takers time to catch up with stragglers. Don’t be a straggler. Complete your census form at 2020census.gov.

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