Thursday, September 10, 2020

Census workers begin face-to-face interviews

Several area residents can expect some official visitors this month.

Official census takers are in local neighborhoods going door-to-door throughout the area attempting to count those who have not completed the 2020 Census. 

Residents who have not responded to the census can do so by phone, online or by mail, officials said. Those who have already completed the form are far less likely to be visited by the workers. 

Last week, the national response was at 76.5 percent, while local participation differed. In our area, Inkster had the lowest response with 61.2 percent while in Plymouth Township, 87.6 percent of households had responded. Only 12.1 percent of census data was collected by personal visits nationwide with 64.4 percent responding online, by phone or mail.

The Census Bureau has provided face masks to every census taker and mandated that all census takers wear one. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, they will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. People are encouraged to cooperate with census takers and ensure that everyone who was living in their household as of April 1, 2020, is counted. 

Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker's identity, the public may contact their regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative. 

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a count of the entire population take place every decade. The process is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The data gathered from the decennial count is used to determine the number of Representatives each state will have in Congress. It's also used to redistrict state and county political maps, and the amount each state gets from various federal funding programs is tied to its census-determined population. It also impacts various aspects of life, such as funding for roads, bridges and other infrastructure; hospitals, emergency response, and data used in reports that support other funding mechanisms. The census data is used to allocate funding for education in communities, including special education, classroom technology, teacher training, after-school programs, and school lunch assistance. In the event of natural disasters, The U.S. Census Bureau produces timely local data that are critical to emergency planning.

Census takers work between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week and will be conducting follow-up visits for non-responding homes through the month of September. The census takers are hired from local areas but should the census taker who visits a home not speak the language of the residents, they can request a return visit from a census taker who speaks the preferred language.

To complete the census, visit the website or call 1-844-330-2020. Telephone Display Device (TDD) is available for people who have hearing impairments, simply call 844-467-2020. 

Responses to the census are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect the answers and keep them strictly confidential for 72 years.

Census takers will be in the area until Sept. 30.

The questionnaire, which can be completed online, by phone, or in paper form by mail, will ask how many people are living in the household, what type of property it is, and each resident's name, gender, and age. The census will not ask for a person's Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, immigration status, or for donations.

For more information, go to