Census self-response rate for Crawford County low compared to state percent
Tue, 08/25/2020 - 10:20am caleb
U.S. Census Bureau changes collection deadline from October 31 to September 30
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The deadline for completing the 2020 United States Census – after being changed a couple of times – is now Wednesday, September 30, and census takers continue to follow up with households that have not yet been counted through “self-response” methods.
According to the United States Census 2020 website, the original deadline for “nonresponsive followup” by census takers was July 31. Earlier this year, the federal government extended the deadline to Saturday, October 31, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the Census Bureau announced in early August that it would be ending its counting efforts at the end of September.
“We will end field data collection by September 30, 2020. Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing. Under this plan, the Census Bureau intends to meet a similar level of household responses as collected in prior censuses, including outreach to hard-to-count communities,” said U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “We will improve the speed of our count without sacrificing completeness. As part of our revised plan, we will conduct additional training sessions and provide awards to enumerators in recognition of those who maximize hours worked. We will also keep phone and tablet computer devices for enumeration in use for the maximum time possible.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, census workers have gone through COVID-19 training and they will be taking precautions as they collect data.
“Census takers are hired from your area, and their goal is to help you and everyone in your home be counted in the 2020 Census. Census takers will wear masks and follow local public health guidelines when they visit your home. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods,” according to 2020census.gov. “Census takers work between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., including weekends. If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone, or by mail. If you respond online or by phone today, a census taker is less likely to have to visit your home to collect your response.”
As of August 16, approximately 64 percent of “housing units” in the country – 94.3 million – had been counted through the “self-response” system, according to 2020census.gov. Most of the self-responses came through online methods, according to census officials, with “80.0 percent – Internet; 18.5 percent – Paper; 1.5 percent – Phone.”
“The Census Bureau is working to complete data collection as quickly and safely as possible, while ensuring a complete and accurate count as it strives to comply with the law and statutory deadlines,” according to 2020census.gov. “The dedicated women and men of the Census Bureau, including our temporary workforce deploying in communities across the country in upcoming weeks, will work diligently to achieve an accurate count.”
As of Monday, August 17, according to the 2020 United States Census, 69.3 percent of Michigan households had provided “self-response” to the census effort. Crawford County, however, was listed at a 43.8 percent self-response rate, according to the Census Bureau.
For individual municipalities in Crawford County, the self-response rates as of Monday, August 17, according to the Census Bureau, were: City of Grayling, 68.6 percent; Beaver Creek Township, 43.9 percent; Frederic Township, 33.1 percent; Grayling Charter Township, 48.2 percent; Lovells Township, 27.5 percent; Maple Forest Township, 44.9 percent; South Branch Township, 37.3 percent.
Maple Forest Township Clerk Sandy Baynham said it’s important for people to participate in the census.
“It is exceptionally important for residents in small townships such as Maple Forest to complete the census and be counted. Population is a key factor in maintaining local government entities and thus providing us all the direct voice and power to make the decisions that impact our township community,” Baynham said.
According to the United States Census website, households can still respond to the census online at https://my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or via mail using the questionnaires mailed by the Census Bureau in April of 2020.
The United States conducts a census once every decade during years that end with a zero.
“The Constitution mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years,” according to the Census Bureau.
“The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency,” according to 2020census.gov.
The numbers are used to determine political districts, distribution of federal resources, and more.
“The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data,” according to 2020census.gov.
Sandy Moore, Crawford County Clerk, said the list of uses for the data collected during the census is “extensive.”
“Each state redraws their legislative districts and each county redraws commissioner districts” based on census data, Moore said, and “the population totals determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.”
“The totals affect funding in communities for school districts across the nation; Head Start programs; Women, Infants and Children food grants; public transportation; road rehabilitation and construction; programs for the elderly; emergency food and shelter. The census helps potential homeowners research property values, median income, and other demographic information about the community. Corporations use data for market research to determine locations for commercial enterprises, such as food stores, pharmacies, and other essential services,” Moore said.
Other uses for census data, according to the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee Guide: “Establishing fair market rents and enforcing fair lending practices. Creating maps to speed emergency services to households in need of assistance. Planning for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and the location of other health services. Assessing the potential for spread of communicable diseases. Locating factory sites and distribution centers. Estimating the number of people displaced by natural disasters. Forecasting future housing needs for all segments of the population.”