Quincy News

Census Bureau outreach effort underway

This April 5, 2020 file photo, shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit.
The Associated Press
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 5, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY — The next outreach effort by the U.S. Census Bureau, "Update Leave Operation," is underway.

Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy Planning and Development director, is helping coordinate the city's grassroots effort to increase participation in the census.

"The enumerators have not been sent out yet, and likely won't be until mid-August, but the Census Bureau is having people drop off paper copies of the census questionnaire at households where people have not previously responded," he said.

He added that census workers will not attempt to contact anyone in the home and that the forms are legitimate.

Ken Young, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, wrote in an email that more than 43,000 questionnaire packets will be delivered to households in Illinois, including 250 in Adams County, particularly in the northwest corner.

Census workers will deliver 425 packets to Schuyler County households, 350 packets in Brown County, and 225 packets to Hancock and McDonough counties.

Census Bureau officials have published protocols that residents can use to verify the authenticity of census forms, workers and other communications.

The Census Bureau said all valid Census Bureau websites have ".gov" at the end. For example, the website 2020census.gov provides tips on how to respond to the census. My2020census.gov is the direct website residents can use to respond to the census online.

The telephone number to complete the census is 1-844-330-2020. A Spanish-language phone line is at 844-468-2020. The phone lines are staffed by trained enumerators, or census takers, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Friday.

Kristina Barrett, a census bureau public affairs specialist, said some who complete the census by telephone will receive a follow-up call.

"The Post Enumeration Survey is part of the coverage measurement process, and not everyone receives a post-enumeration call," Barrett said. "These calls are performed by trained census takers who will ensure the information collected is complete and accurate."

All responses are kept confidential, and those making the call will not ask about personal banking information, Social Security numbers, anything on behalf of a political party or ask for money transfers or for donations.

The census bureau also will not text residents unless one has chosen to participate in follow-up surveys. To confirm the legitimacy of a call, residents are encouraged to call 844-809-7717.

The Census Bureau also will not send unsolicited emails to request participation. However, the bureau may contact residents via email if they choose to participate in the Household Pulse Survey, Small Business Pulse Survey or Census Bureau Research Study.

If someone comes to the door claiming to be a census representative, officials recommend asking to see a U.S. Department of Commerce photo identification card, which should have an expiration date and a watermark from the federal government.

If residents continue to have doubts, they are encouraged to call 1-844-330-2020 to speak with a census representative.

If it is determined that the visitor does not work for the Census Bureau, call local police.

Bevelheimer said he was unaware of any local cases involving someone impersonating a census worker.

The deadline to respond to the census is Oct. 31, which has been pushed back due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government will use data collected in the census to assign congressional representation, to distribute more than $675 billion in grants and funding for roads and bridges, hospitals and public health agencies, schools, food pantries, and police and public safety.

Quincy's response rate to the census is 70.4%. In 2010, the city had a response rate of about 80%.

Inside Adams County, Ursa has the highest response rate at 79%. Other community response rates in Adams County include: Golden, 74.9%; Columbus, 70.8%; Mendon, 69.3%; Plainville, 69.2%; Camp Point, 68.7%; Payson, 67.4%; Coatsburg, 64.6%; Loraine, 63.8%; La Prairie, 56.3%; Clayton, 55.4%; Liberty, 51.7%; and Lima, 48.5%.

Response rates are calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau using data from the American Community Survey, which is completed before the nationwide count. The survey, also done by the federal government, provides population estimates for each state, county and municipality in the nation based on the previous census and other data.

Response rates in adjoining counties are Hancock County, 62.6%; Brown County, 58%; Schuyler County, 60.6%; Pike County, 59%; and Calhoun County, 24.4%, which is the second-lowest response rate in the state, besting Hardin County.

In Northeast Missouri, Marion County continues to have the highest response rate with 65.1%. Other response rates in the region are: Pike County, 59.8%; Lewis County, 58.6%; Scotland County, 57.7%; Ralls County, 57.4%; Shelby County, 56.6%; Monroe County, 49.6%; Clark County, 46.9%; and Knox County, 43.2%.