Whatcom County Census Coordinator Sara Bernardy announced this morning that field operations throughout the state of Washington would resume today, Monday, May 11th. Census workers will resume delivering invitations and questionnaires to households that did not receive them before field operations were suspended in March as a result of the response to the COVID-19 disease according to Bernardy.
As of May 9th, Whatcom County has a 66% self-response rate, compared with Washington state’s 64% and the nation’s 56% rate according to the census website.
Bernardy said census workers will not require any interaction with the public. Instead of ringing doorbells, workers will be leaving a packet with a questionnaire and instructions at the front door. Bernardy said this effort will include mostly rural areas and households with post office boxes, about 5% of the households in the state.
The original plan, according to census officials, was for census takers to be out to interview households from May 27th to August 14th.
Households do not have to await delivery of the packet. There are other ways to respond to the census:
- Respond online at www.2020census.gov
- Call a toll-free number between 4am and 11pm Pacific Time
- English, 844.330.2020
- Spanish, 844.468.2020
- Other languages available on request
City, county and state governments and tax districts are very interested in citizen participation in the census because the results often determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding will be distributed over the next decade. If participation is low and their jurisdictions end up under-represented in the data, federal funding may be inadequate to meet the needs of the population.
Bernardy said, “Encourage everyone to answer the census now. We are well on the way to a complete count of the state.”