Census Bureau enumerators to start visiting homes in August

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 7/24/20

The 2020 Census began accepting responses in April. As of July 21, Baldwin County was at a 54.2% self-response rate and Alabama was at 59.8% self-response rate. This is the first time in history that …

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Census Bureau enumerators to start visiting homes in August

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The 2020 Census began accepting responses in April. As of July 21, Baldwin County was at a 54.2% self-response rate and Alabama was at 59.8% self-response rate. This is the first time in history that people are able to fill out their census online via my2020census.gov, as well as via phone (1-844-330-2020), and by filling out mailed forms.

“The census is critical to our state; it brings home important dollars each year,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Currently we’re at 59.8%, two points behind the national average. We will live with these results for the next ten years, and that impacts education, free lunches at school, roads and infrastructure, and healthcare.”

For each person who does not fill out their census, Alabama loses $1,600 per person. Also during the 2020 Census, Alabama is in jeopardy of losing two seats in the House of Representatives.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Census Bureau enumerators have limited their direct contact with the public. Beginning Aug. 11, enumerators will begin visiting homes of those who have not responded to their census in an attempt to raise the response rate numbers.

“If you want to avoid the knock, then complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail so we don’t come to your door,” said Marilyn Stephens, assistant regional manager for Census Bureau’s Atlanta Region. “Our Safety and Security Division will be speaking to law enforcement agencies to let them know when our staff goes into the field to keep them safe. Our staff is trained to properly wear their masks, which will be mandatory when they are in the field, they will knock, take a step back, identify themselves and ask household members to come outside to conduct the interview.”

Stephens says it is the enumerators’ job to conduct the interviews themselves, and are not there to assist household members with filling the census out online, via telephone, or by taking filled out paper copies. If the household declines to take the interview and instead wishes to take the census themselves, the enumerator will leave but the household will remain on the unresponsive list until their census has been taken. As long as an address remains on the list, enumerators will return at a later date.

“Our enumerators will have a photo ID, and all of their equipment from their cell phone to their laptop to their bag will identify them as census workers,” Stephens said.

The Census Bureau strongly encourages the public to respond online at 2020census.gov. Households can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages, or by mail using the paper questionnaire mailed to unresponsive addresses or dropped off at the door.

The 2020 Census is composed of ten questions and takes approximately six minutes to complete. No one will ever be asked for personal information such as their social security number or citizenship information when completing the census. As for the information that is entered such as address and phone number, the Census Bureau does not share information with other government entities. Oct. 31 is the last day to complete your census.