Still time to be counted

Written by TF Staff on .

In March, invitations to complete the 2020 Census began arriving across the United States. Maybe you filled out the questionnaire immediately and dropped it in the mail. Maybe you went online or called to provide the requested information. But maybe you have not yet responded.

If so, you’re not alone. In Missouri, the self-response rate to the census is 61.9%, according to Marilyn Sanders, regional director of the Chicago Regional Census Center. That means nearly 40% of the people in our state do not make the time to respond to the census. The good news is there’s still time to be counted. The self-response phase of the 2020 Census continues until Oct. 31.

“The census is now. The census is important. It informs decisions for the next 10 years. It’s an opportunity for each and every one of our voices to count,” Sanders said. “The data informs so many decisions. Most recently, it helped with distribution of funding based on population as a result of COVID-19 and the Cares Act.”

The census also helps government officials plan distribution of more than $675 billion in funding each year for hospitals, schools, roads, public works and many other programs, according to Sanders. By responding to the census, you can help make sure your community is well represented.

Additionally, the census is more easily accessible than ever before. You can respond online at census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mail. Census-takers will also follow up with households that have not responded. This variety of options has grown extensively since the last census in 2010, providing an opportunity for even more people to respond, Sanders said.

About 5% of people in rural communities do not have mailable addresses, which means they receive their mail through post office box delivery instead of at home. Because of COVID-19, census employees paused delivery of question­naires to those addresses. However, the operation resumed in June, and all questionnaires should now have been delivered to those households.

“Now, the message is ‘Go online, respond by phone or fill the questionnaire out to complete the census,’” Sanders said. “It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s safe.”