The importance of completing the 2020 Census is especially clear as local communities respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating in the Census every 10 years ensures that Southwest Florida receives its share of federal funding, such as the $134 million targeted for Lee County COVID-19 relief through the CARES Act. So far, though, about 54% of the Lee County population has responded, lagging behind both the national rate of 59% and the Florida rate of 57%. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next decade. For the first time, the Census is available to complete online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020. It’s easy and secure. Residents also may participate by mail, as usual. By mid-August, field workers will be deployed to locate anyone who has not completed a Census form.