EDINBURG – For the latest installment of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Luncheon the topic was the 2020 Census.

Three county judges and one county commissioner sat on a panel to discuss the importance of being counted and receiving the money the Rio Grande Valley is entitled.

The framework of the Rio Grande Valley might be different than that of the 1950s, and while in former times the Friday Night Lights mentality was hindering how leaders represented their respective cities, that just is not the case.

“We know the impact of working together is much greater than each of us going in our own direction,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino said. “The Census itself designates the opportunities to rectify past mistakes, in past censuses the Valley has been undercounted.”

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said learning from past mistakes will be key in 2020.

In the last census the United States grew roughly less than 10 percent, Texas grew approximately 21 percent and the Rio Grande Valley grew 31 percent while being undercounted.

With new technology and imaging Hidalgo County has counted roof tops to make sure everyone will be counted. There was 14,274 new addresses, 15,968 incorrect addresses and 5,152 were eliminated from the records that the Census Bureau will use to count residents of Hidalgo County.

The net was 25,000 addresses and homes that were not on file.

Roughly 90,000 people will not be counted if the effort is not made to do so, which in turn will result in $144 million not being allocated for Hidalgo County.

There are 860,661 people estimated to be in Hidalgo County as per federal numbers.

“Based on the numbers we have,” Cortez said. “We should be approximately 1.2 million people in Hidalgo County.”

Look for more 2020 Census posters and locations where to be counted. Remember at first the count will only happen by phone or internet so be prepared.

The county will be proactive to count everyone making corrections and adjustments.

“The significance of the census affects us politically, economically and socially,” Cortez said.

All four county leaders including Starr County Judge Eloy Vera and Willacy County Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez shared the same sentiment, everyone needs to be counted.