HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Time is running out to complete the 2020 Census.

The deadline was initially Sept. 30, but late Thursday a judge ruled it would be extended through the month of October.

According to Census.gov, Connecticut has a 97 percent response rate.

Community leaders now say the remaining 3 percent concerns them, and they are asking people to respond as soon as possible if they haven’t already.

“If we don’t think about it as an investment in our future, we are going to have a crisis like never before,” said Yanil Teron, executive director for the Center for Latino Progress, which provides job training in a city where 30 percent of the families live in poverty.

Teron said with the pandemic killing hospitality and service jobs, they need funding for job training more than ever.

“To be able to do that, we need funds that usually come from the federal government,” Teron said.

In the same neighborhood, more than half of the households haven't filled out the Census, which is a major indicator for the federal funds that may or may not come.

“Fill the Census as soon as possible because if things are bad today, really bad things are going to get worse,” Teron said.

Officials estimate that more than 100,000 people across the state haven’t filled out the Census.

That's millions of dollars in aid residents are walking away from.

“The Census means $2,900 per person over 10 years. So that's $29,000 times three for your kids. So I said it's almost $100,000 that's going to your community,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who shared an example that she had given to a mother of three who hasn’t completed the Census yet.

That money is for a plethora of programs, like Head Start, school lunches, special programs for seniors, business loans, health care centers, housing assistance, college grants, and more.

In total, there are 55 federal spending programs that come from Census numbers.

“When a disaster happens, and we say how much money does FEMA need to put to that place? Well, how many people are there,” explained Danielle Cooper, a criminal justice associate professor at the University of New Haven.

The government also uses the Census to prepare and respond to mass events, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

It also plays into representation in Congress.

“Locations have lost seats in the House of Representatives because their populations being counted have drastically shifted between Censuses,” Cooper said.

People can fill out the Census online, by mail, or by phone. It usually takes about 10 minutes.

For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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