By Julia Purdy
Among the first-time moves to make the national 10-year population count more user-friendly, faster, and also as complete as possible, the Census Bureau has come up with “Push Week” (July 27-Aug. 2), a friendly competition to see how many new household responses the Census can land before Census workers hit the streets to talk to households in person. The final due date for Census responses to be turned in is Oct. 31.
Many folks have responded to postcards mailed out with instructions for responding online. As of July 1, the online responses for Rutland County towns averaged roughly 50% of the responses mailed in.
At the end of Push Week, the winner will be announced and the final figures will be made public. The winner is determined by its percentage increase throughout the week, with the ultimate goal being 100%. The response rate is calculated daily.
As of July 26, Rutland County ranked 6th among the 14 Vermont counties, at 52.6%. The state response rate was 56.1% and the national rate was 62.4%, with 92.3 million households responding.
The top Rutland County municipality was Rutland Town with 69.2%, followed by Proctor and Clarendon, neck-and-neck at 64.8%, both moving up from 64.1% on July 1. Other rates have increased at a trickle.
The trophy? Returning taxpayer dollars back into communities to support education, health and social programs, as well as infrastructure repairs and disaster aid, among many other benefits. Many community leaders and town offices have been promoting the 2020 Census because they know that critical federal funding for the region rides on the data gathered by the 2020 Census — calculations that will be used for the next decade.
One user-friendly innovation is pop-up locations around the state offering personal assistance with the Census questionnaire.
One reason that Census workers go door to door beginning in August is to offer the same kind of help in filling out the questionnaire. The questions focus on household composition as of April 1, including any non-family members.
What to expect IF you don’t mail or return it online
A Census worker clearly identified by an ID badge from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce/Bureau of the Census and carrying a case clearly marked “2020Census,” will knock on your door. The worker will introduce him- or herself. The ID badge should be clearly visible and should match the face of the Census worker. There is no need for the Census worker to come inside the house. If no one is home, the worker will leave a tag on the door and will return at a later time.