Out for the count
The U.S. Census Bureau is preparing to launch a campaign to send enumerators out to all households that have not yet responded to the 2020 survey.
The bureau announced that on July 30 it began training census takers for a nonresponse follow-up operation, which is scheduled to begin in all of Oregon's 34 counties on Saturday, Aug. 11.
Misty Slater, a Census Bureau media specialist for Nevada, Oregon and Idaho, said the overall response rate in Oregon has been about 65%, which is about 1.3 million households. Surveys were sent to all households earlier this year.
Only three Oregon counties, Washington, Clackamas and Polk, returned questionnaires at a rate of 70% or higher.
"The Census Bureau will need to visit the remaining addresses to collect responses in person," Slater said. "Those who respond will not need to be visited to obtain their census response."
Slater added that households still have time to respond by completing and mailing back the paper questionnaire they received. People can respond online at 2020census.gov, or by phone: in English at 844-330-2020; in Spanish at 844-468-2020.
Households also can answer online or by phone in one of 13 languages. For assistance, visit 2020census.gov/en/languages.html.
Census Bureau officials said training for employees who go door to door to visit nonresponse households includes education in public health guidelines. They will be wearing masks and adhering to social-distancing protocols as prescribed through their virtual COVID-19 course work.
The census takers will have valid identification, including a badge with their photograph on it. Anyone who wants to confirm a census taker's identity can contact their regional census center, located at 2020census.gov/en/contact-us/rcc.html.
The bureau has hired census takers to work in all communities in the region, and they include a number of bilingual and multilingual employees. If there is a language barrier at a given household, a return visit from someone who speaks a compatible language can be requested.
Slater said if a census taker visits a nonresponding household and discovers nobody home, they will leave information on how to respond online, by phone or mail.
"People are encouraged to cooperate with census takers and ensure that everyone who was living in their household as of April 1, 2020, is counted," Slater said.
By the numbers
A handful of cities tucked in and around the Portland metro area will see few census takers. Bureau statistics show the top response cities in Oregon are: Maywood Park, 85.7 %; King City, 84.7 %; Johnson City, 80.8 %; Rivergrove, 80.4 %; and West Linn, 79.4 %.
Portland is 39th in the state at 69.9%.
The mid-Willamette Valley response was less stellar: Woodburn is 74th in the state at 64.9%, pretty close to the statewide average. Aurora is 82nd in the state at 63.9%. Gervais is 169th at 39.9%; Hubbard is 92nd at 62.0%; Mount Angel is 144th at 45.9%; and St. Paul is 142nd at 46.2%.
Top response percentage counties are Washington, 73.1 %; Clackamas, 71.3%; Polk, 70.1%; Benton 69.2% and Multnomah, 69.2%. Marion County is 10th in the state at 65.7%, while Yamhill County is eighth at 66.7%.
About the 2020 Census
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone who lives in the United States on April 1, 2020 (Census Day). Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. Congress.
Learn more online at 2020census.gov.
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