Public Assets Institute Life in the time of the COVID-19 has upended everyone’s daily routines. It’s a wonder anyone has remembered the 2020 Census form that recently arrived in the mail. But as of last weekend, just over 16 percent of Vermonters had completed the survey. Nationally, the response rate has been 19.2 percent.
April 1, just a week away, is Census Day. That’s the reference date for answering the Census questions about the people in each household, their ages, race, relationships, and about home ownership. This is the basic head count that is done every 10 years, and it’s critical in determining the distribution for federal funds, representation in Congress, and representation in the Vermont Legislature. Federal highway construction, Medicaid, food assistance (known here as 3SquaresVT), Head Start, and school meals are just a few of the federal programs affected by the Census count.
More detailed Census data, which we use frequently in our work and which tells us about poverty, Vermonters’ incomes, and their levels of education, are collected each month through the American Community Survey. A sample of Vermont households randomly selected for that survey will be filling out those forms this month, too.The questionnaires sent out earlier this month can be answered by phone, online, or by mail.
About 85 percent of Vermonters who have responded so far have used the Internet.
In addition to these “self-response” surveys, the U.S. Census Bureau and the states make a huge effort to identify people who are less visible and often undercounted—young children, minorities, people with mental illness or disabilities, undocumented immigrants and non-English speakers, and people without homes.
Governor Phil Scott appointed the Vermont 2020 Complete Count Committee last December to see that Vermont’s count is as complete as possible.
It’s important for those selected to answer the surveys and for all of us to respond to the 2020 Decennial Census. The information will affect the state for the next 10 years.
And while we’re cooped up at home, filling out the survey could provide a brief respite from the boredom and anxiety.
Source: Public Assets Institute 3.24.2020