(St. Lucie County) April 2021
Erick Gill, Director of Communications, St. Lucie County, Florida
Every 10 years, federal, state and local governments participate in the U.S. Census count. A Constitutional requirement, the national Census effort counts how many people live in each city, county and state. This information is used for a number of purposes from federal allocation to schools and roads to re-drawing of the boundaries for elected officials.
St. Lucie County participates in the Census efforts as it is important from a funding standpoint. St. Lucie County’s self-response rate in 2020 was 66.3% – a 5% increase over the previous Census rate 10 years ago and higher than Florida’s response rate of 63.8%.
While the county also uses the Census data to update county commissioners’ district boundaries – the redistricting process doesn’t have as big of an impact on voters in St. Lucie County because County Commissioners are elected county-wide. St. Lucie County has five County Commission seats. Three (District 1, 3 and 5) are elected during the Presidential elections, while the other two (Districts 2 and 4) are during non-Presidential years. County Commissioners serve four-year terms.
St. Lucie County staff uses the 10-year Census data to make sure each County Commission District has roughly the same amount of residents, but the geographical boundaries differ greatly. District 5 encompasses the most land mass, since it has the western agricultural areas, but has roughly the same number of residents as the other districts.
Efforts to draw the St. Lucie County Commission Districts is delayed. The U.S. Census Bureau announced in mid-February that it will deliver the Public Law 94-171 redistricting data to all states by Sept. 30, 2021. COVID-19-related delays and prioritizing the delivery of the apportionment results delayed the Census Bureau’s original plan to deliver the redistricting data to the states by March 31, 2021.
Different from previous censuses, the Census Bureau will deliver the data for all states at once, instead of on a flow basis. This change has been made because of COVID-19-related shifts in data collection and in the data processing schedule and it enables the Census Bureau to deliver complete and accurate redistricting data in a more timely fashion overall for the states.
For more information about St. Lucie County visit www.stlucieco.gov or follow the county on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @StlucieGov.