Despite the coronavirus, Census workers now engaged in the final phase of the Census Bureau’s once-a-decade headcount of American residents by making in-person visits to non-responding households.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In-person visits to U.S. households are starting to make significant progress toward the U.S. Census Bureau’s mission to count every American resident.
Census response rates nationwide have jumped from 64.4 percent to 76.6 percent since early August when in-person visits to non-responding household by Census takers began in earnest across the country.
Those visits began in limited test areas on July 16 and expanded on a weekly basis until follow-up efforts were active in all 50 states by Aug. 9.
At that time, Census Director Dr. Steven Dillingham estimated that the Census Bureau’s half-million field workers needed to visit some 56 million non-responding households to complete the once-a-decade national headcount.
Here in Utah, the in-person visits since early August have boosted the statewide response rate by 11 percent to nearly 80 percent.
Progress has been slower in Cache County, however. The countywide response rate has only increased by about 1 percent in the past two weeks. The only local communities showing significant response rate increases are North Logan (up 4.9 percent to 82.9 percent), Richmond (up 2.2 percent to 78.2 percent), Clarkston (up 2.2 percent to 58.2 percent) and River Heights (up 2 percent to 86 percent).
The non-response follow-up (NRFU) effort will be the final phase of the much-delayed Census field initiative, according to spokesperson Coralys M. Ruiz Jimenez. The in-person household visits had been scheduled to begin in spring, but were delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.
During the NRFU, residents can still respond to the Census by mail or online at 2020census.gov.
Residents can also reach a Census call center by dialing 844-330-2020 where assistance is available in more than 13 languages.
Ruiz Jimenez says that residents responding by mail, online or phone will be able to avoid an in-person visit by Census workers.
During the ongoing NRFU phase, Census takers will make at least six attempts to contact residents at each of their assigned households. If those workers are unable to make face-to-face contact, they will leave a printed notice with instructions reminding the resident to respond to the Census via mail, online or phone.
Census takers have also been instructed to seek out proxy sources of basic information about occupants of non-responding households, including neighbors, rental agents, building managers or other knowledgeable persons.
All Census field workers have been trained to observe local, state and federal precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
As of mid-August, the response rates from other Cache County communities stood at 87 percent for Hyde Park; 82 percent for Nibley, Providence and Smithfield; and 80 percent for Amalga, Hyrum and Wellsville.
The cities of Lewiston and Richmond each have response rates of 78 percent. Communities with response rates in the low 70 percent range include Logan, Mendon, Millville, Paradise and Trenton.
The response rate from Cornish is 68 percent.