The 2020 Census count is moving forward, despite the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as is mandated in the U.S. Constitution.
Jones County households that have not already responded to the Census can expect a knock at their door or at the very least a phone call from a Census taker.
According to Jones County Complete Count coordinator Joy Carr, the nonresponse follow up door knocking by Census workers started in Jones County Aug. 9 and would continue until Sept. 30. During this time, people can still fill out their Census forms on their own so a Census taker will not need to come to their door.
Carr said Sept. 30 has also been announced as the deadline for people to submit their self-response forms, which leaves about six weeks for the count to be completed.
Jones County’s self-response rate as of Aug. 17 was 62 percent. That is above the state average of 59.1 percent but below the national self-response average of 63.3 percent.
Carr said 95 counties in Georgia have achieved a 50 percent or more response rate, and 24 counties have already passed their 2010 response rate.
The count takes place every 10 years with the goal of counting everyone who lived in the United States on the 2020 Census Day, April 1. The follow up operation for every household that has not responded began last week.
A complete count is vital because Census statistics are used to establish the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and determines how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers annually, to each community, for the next 10 years.
Based on the current national self-response rate of 63.3 percent, Census workers will need to visit about 56 million addresses to collect the remaining responses in person.
A press release from the Census Bureau states it will take up to 500,000 census takers across the country to go door to door to assist those people in responding to the 2020 Census.
Those follow up visits started July 16 in a limited number of areas, and areas were added each week thereafter. Starting Aug. 9, all remaining offices began following up with households nationwide, including right here in Jones County.
The release states that Census takers had to undergo training on social distancing and safety protocols, and they will follow local public health guidelines. The workers will be required to wear a facemask when conducting follow-up visits.
Census Bureau Director onse Dr. Steven Rate Dillingham said most households have already responded to the Census.
“To ensure a complete and accurate count, we must now go door to door to count all of the households we have not heard back from,” he said.
Dillingham said, during .9% this phase, people can still self-respond online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mailing their completed questionnaire.
The door-to-door operation is the final stage of conducting the once-a-decade population count of everyone living in the United States. Only households that have not responded will receive a follow up visit.
Census takers are hired from local communities, and they 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.
In addition to the door-to-door visits and in order to minimize the need to send census takers to households in person, the Census Bureau also trained census takers to follow up with households by phone.
The phone calls will enable the Census Bureau to have maximum flexibility for conducting field operations and is one more method that census takers can use to reach non-responding households.
Phone calls will be used on an as-needed basis and when in-person contact attempts have not been successful.
For more information, visit 2020census.gov.