By Kathy Chouteau
Households who haven’t responded to the 2020 Census can expect a knock on their door in the coming weeks. Starting today, census takers will begin to follow up with nonresponding households statewide to gather responses in person. The census takers’ efforts will continue over the next seven and a half weeks.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California’s current self-response rate is 64.5 percent, which is 1.3 points ahead of the national rate.
There’s still time to complete your 2020 Census before getting that knock on your door. Households can either respond online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 (13 languages available) or by completing and mailing back the paper questionnaire received via mail. It only takes several minutes to fill out and answers are kept confidential.
“Those that respond will not need to be visited to obtain their census response,” per U.S. Census Bureau officials.
Census takers are hired within local communities and conduct their work in English, although many are bilingual. They will be wearing masks, observing social distancing protocols and can be identified by their valid government ID badge, which includes their photo, a watermark from the U.S. Department of Commerce and an expiration date. Community members can confirm their census taker’s identity by contacting their regional census center.
In the event that the census taker doesn’t speak the household’s language, they can request a return visit from another census taker who does. If no one is home when the census taker visits, they will leave info on how to respond to the 2020 Census through other channels.
Currently, the Cities of Richmond and Oakland are competing in a friendly competition to see who can get as many of their residents to complete the 2020 Census. At last count, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Oakland’s response rate was at 65.8 percent, with Richmond a close second at 65.6 percent.
Although the contest ends today, residents can continue to fill out the 2020 Census until Oct. 31 using the aforementioned methods.
Ultimately, the 2020 Census aims to count everyone who lives in the United States on April 1, 2020. Info from the census helps determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how federal funds will be distributed by state, local and federal lawmakers annually over the next decade.
Visit 2020census.gov for more info.