Officials remind filling out census is vital

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

While the overwhelming focus right now is on slowing the spread of COVID-19, census officials are also concerned that people may not be counted in the county’s official population count.

As of Sunday, 26.5% of Dubois County had filled out the census.

“I was expecting better,” said Becky Beckman, head of the county census committee. “We gotta get people counted here.”

The county, Jasper and Huntingburg committees have been working to encourage everyone to complete their census form. Residences should have received a notice in the mail that includes a code unique to that residence. That code is to be used to fill out the form online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020.

People fill out the form to count everyone living in their residence as of April 1, which has been called Census Day. Local committees were planning to have community activities and locations for people to come and complete their form. They were also enlisting the help of others in the community, like businesses, churches and schools. But with places shutting down, it may be more difficult to get that encouragement out to the public.

“I am worried about some of these areas now, if the businesses shut down,” Beckman said as an example. “We’re needing them to get their employees to fill it out.”

In April, those households who have not filled out the Census are due to get a paper form in the mail.

As of last week, the Census Bureau announced some changes in its operations, including suspending its field operations until April 1, U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced last week.

“The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions,” he said.

In late May, census takers were due to visit households that hadn’t yet filled out their Census response. “As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we will adjust census taker and survey operations as necessary in order to follow the guidance of federal, state, and local health authorities,” Dillingham said.

The Census is also making temporary adjustments to operations at two facilities in Jeffersonville. The national processing center and the paper data capture center will scale back on its site staff. “These temporary adjustments, will help protect the safety and health of our employees at Jeffersonville as they continue to process 2020 census responses from all around the country,” said Jeanine Beasley, media coordinator for the U.S. Census, Chicago Regional Center.

The completion date for collecting the population data is July 31, “however, that date can and will be adjusted if necessary, as the situation evolves, in order to achieve a complete and accurate count,” Beasley said.

The public is strongly encouraged to respond to the 2020 Census online or by phone, Dillingham said.

“Everyone should respond to the 2020 Census as soon as they receive their invitation,” he said, “and when they’re finished, they can make sure their friends, families, and social networks know about the importance of responding.”

Beckman agreed.

“Everything is affected by our population count,” she said. “Money coming to us [from the state and federal governments] is going to be based on population. If we’re not counted, that means less money for our county.”

So while you are sitting at home, complete your census form online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020.

“Just take the few minutes,” Beckman said. “It’s so easy to do.”




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