STATE WIDE–Coronavirus has affected almost every aspect of life for Hoosiers and all Americans. The Census has also been affected, with delays in collecting data. The U.S. Census Bureau has come up with some ways that may help them catch up and that means you may see Census workers out in your neighborhood.
Census representative Marilyn Sanders says they’ve begun a program to reach out to people in areas where the response rate has been low.
LISTEN: Census Spokesperson Marilyn Sanders talks Indiana response rate and the plan
“An individual will go into these low-responding areas, into open public places where we have the lowest response rate, to assist them, answer their questions,” she said.
Sanders said the places may include food banks, laundromats, unemployment offices, and places where back to school drives are happening. She said the program began Monday.
But, Indiana is generally in a good place with Census response. The rate for the state is 66 percent. Sanders said the national response rate is 62 percent. But, there are places where some people are not responding.
“Troubling news: Currently, IN-07 has the lowest #Census2020 response rate out of every district in Indiana,” Tweeted Congressman Andre Carson. “This has bad implications for our community’s ability to receive the funding & representation we deserve in the years ahead.”
The response rate for Indianapolis as a whole is 60 percent.
Sanders said the Census Bureau has been working with Carson to make sure people know that the Census is not just about how much representation Indiana gets in DC, but also about how $675 billion is divided between communities every year, for “city planning for roads, emergency services, Pell grants, funding for health care, Medicaid, children’s health insurance”.
Sanders said that people who do not respond may get a knock on their door. That final phase of “non-response visits” for collecting the data begins in late July, with a target completion date of Oct. 31.
“We will hire and train Census enumerators to go door to door to safely collect that data,” she said. “They will be required to have PPE. We had a virtual training provided to them on how to interview safely in this COVID environment.”
Sanders said the goal is to begin compiling the data so that it is available as soon as possible, so they are asking everyone to respond for a complete and accurate count.