Though COVID-19 has caused delays in conducting the 2020 Census, field operations recently resumed out of the Stockton census office, which serves Calaveras County.
The Census Bureau is currently focused on the Update Leave operation, which began on March 15, but was postponed when all fieldwork was suspended on March 18.
“The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin to drop off 2020 Census questionnaire packets at front doors of nearly 150,000 households in Northern California that do not have regular mailing addresses, such as in rural areas or households that use post office boxes,” a May 25 press release states.
Field staff will wear official government-provided personal protective equipment and have been trained to observe all social distancing protocols. The operation will involve no physical contact and will follow current federal health and safety guidelines.
“People are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to the 2020 Census using the ID number included in the questionnaire packet,” the press release states. “Responding with a census ID or the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community. People can respond online, by phone or by using the paper form in the packet.”
In Calaveras County, about 13,600 households will have questionnaires delivered to their doors in the coming days.
The Nonresponse Followup operation, in which census takers conduct in-person interviews with households who have not self-responded, is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 11. The delivery of the apportionment counts to Congress has been rescheduled from by Dec. 31 to by April 30, 2021.
As of Monday, only 33.3% of county households have self-responded to the census, while the rate for the state as a whole is 61.6%.
In 2010, the county’s final self-response rate was only 45.2%.
“The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others use to provide daily services, products and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data,” according to the Census Bureau’s website. “The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.”
For every person missed during this year’s count, the county stands to lose about $20,000 in federal program funding over the next 10 years, according to the Calaveras County government website.
To respond to the 2020 Census online, visit my2020census.gov.