Cen­sus 2020 dead­line is ap­proach­ing, Oct. 1

Howard County is sit­ting at self-re­sponse rate of 48.7%

Big Spring Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By AMANDA DUFORAT Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

The time to be counted is now. The U.S. Cen­sus 2020 is cur­rently tak­ing place and will be wrap­ping up on Oct. 31. As of Sept. 3, Howard County is sit­ting at a sel­f­re­sponse rate of 48.7% and Big Spring is at 49.2%, and Texas is sit­ting at a 60.5% self-re­sponse rate.

“Peo­ple can re­spond on­line, by phone or by mail­ing back the pa­per form that was de­liv­ered to the house­hold,” Brenda Mac­Don­ald, Me­dia Spe­cial­ist for U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, said.

Those who want to re­spond on­line can visit 2020census. gov or by phone at 844-3302020 or at 844-468-2020 for those who would like to take the Cen­sus in Span­ish. Each house­hold should have also re­ceived a pa­per form that can be filled out and re­turned as well.

“As part of its Non­re­sponse Fol­lowup Op­er­a­tion (NRFU), the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau is vis­it­ing ev­ery house­hold that has not al­ready re­sponded to the 2020 Cen­sus to en­sure a com­plete and ac­cu­rate count,” Mac­Don­ald said. “Cen­sus tak­ers are sched­uled to visit the non-re­spond­ing house­holds from now un­til Sept. 30, 2020 to ask a few ques­tions and will en­ter the an­swers on their se­cure Cen­sus Bureau smart phone. If a fam­ily mem­ber is not home when the cen­sus taker vis­its, they will leave a no­tice of their visit with in­for­ma­tion about how to re­spond on­line or by phone. Ad­di­tional vis­its will be made to the house­hold if contact is not made the first time.”

She con­tin­ued,

“Cen­sus tak­ers will fol­low so­cial dis­tanc­ing pro­to­cols and all ap­pli­ca­ble state and lo­cal re­quire­ments with re­gard to health and safety.

Un­til Sept. 30, 2020, house­holds can con­tinue to re­spond on­line or by phone.

Ac­cord­ing to Mac­Don­ald, a higher self-re­sponse rate means fewer peo­ple are likely to be missed or counted in­ac­cu­rately and fewer house­holds will have a visit from a cen­sus taker to be counted in-per­son. The com­mu­ni­ties with a higher self-re­sponse rate also have a bet­ter chance at re­ceiv­ing their fair share of ser­vices and po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“The 2020 Cen­sus im­pacts how bil­lions of dol­lars in fed­eral funds are al­lo­cated to com­mu­ni­ties each year. Funds are used for crit­i­cal pro­grams and ser­vices such as food as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing SNAP and WIC, new roads, in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, and area hospi­tal and clin­ics,” she said.

In the Lub­bock ACO re­gion – which cov­ers to Amar­illo, Big Spring, Lub­bock, Abi­lene, and San An­gelo there are 790 cen­sus tak­ers or enu­mer­a­tors and vis­its are made from 9 a.m. un­til 9 p.m. each day. While some may be leery about iden­ti­fy­ing a cen­sus taker cor­rectly, the Cen­sus Bureau’s web­site of­fers in­for­ma­tion on how to iden­tify a cen­sus taker and how to re­port sus­pected fraud.

“It is not too late to get counted and ev­ery per­son counts,” she said.

Amanda Duforat is the Man­ag­ing Edi­tor at the Big Spring Her­ald. To contact her, e-mail edi­tor@bigspringh­er­ald.com or call 432-263-7331.

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