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STATE WIDE–U.S. Census employees are coming to Indiana to hand out invitations to complete the census. The mission is to count everyone in the United States and in Indiana, to make sure the Hoosier state gets its share of federal money for schools and the right representation in Washington.

“We have to count every person living in the United States and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure we get an accurate count across Indiana,” said Steve Buckner, assistant director of Communications for the U.S. Census.

LISTEN Steve Buckner with the US Census Bureau explains why census workers will be visiting some Hoosiers.

Even though you probably got an invitation by mail, just under 40,000 Hoosiers didn’t.

“There are a small percentage of households, around five percent nation-wide, that we have to hand deliver a questionnaire packet to, that don’t have city-style addresses or get their mail from a P.O. box,” he said. “We’ve got about 39,000 or so across the state.”

Buckner said the census began in mid-March and the operations had to be suspended because of the pandemic. They are now resuming those operations, with the blessings of state authorities. Offices have re-opened in Ft. Wayne, Evansville and Lake County, where the response rates are generally about 6 out of 10 people completing the census, by mail, phone or online.

Buckner said the response rate will affect the second wave of census employees and their mission, which begins in the second week of August.

That mission will be to contact people personally who have not responded.

“These response rates, hopefully with delivering the additional questionnaires to people, will boost up a little bit,” said Buckner. He said the more responses they are able to get between now and August, the fewer visits they will have to make once that phase of taking the census begins.

He said the Census Bureau will hire about a half million people across the country to complete as much of the census as possible. The data will be compiled and available at the end of March, which is about three months late. Buckner said he knows that will affect how states like Indiana are redrawing their legislative districts, and that the Census Bureau will do their best to provide what data is available to help in making decisions.