With September 30 as the deadline for completing the 2020 Census, critical door knocking efforts are underway to homes of those who have not yet responded, to reach or surpass the 2010 response rate before the final hour.
Census takers are visiting homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census and following up with a phone call to ensure everyone in Las Cruces is counted. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, census takers have completed training on social distancing and safety protocols. They are required to wear a face mask when conducting follow-up visits, must maintain social distancing of six feet or more, practice hand hygiene, and conduct interviews outside as much as possible.
Currently, Las Cruces has a self-response rate of 64.3 percent; the 2010 self-response rate was 65.7 percent. “The negative 1.4-percentage difference between then and now could mean losing millions of dollars in funding for healthcare, childcare, meals for seniors, education, emergency preparedness and even job creation,” said Jamey Rickman, Community Engagement Manager. “It’s critical that the community exceed the 2010 count to receive its fair share of funding for the next 10 years.”
According to the campaign “I Count New Mexico,” each New Mexican not counted equates to a loss of approximately $3,745 per year for the next decade.
Community members have until September 30 to self-respond and can do so online at My2020Census.gov, by phone 1-844-330-2020 (English), 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish) or mailing back the paper questionnaire they received. The census will NOT ask about citizenship or immigration status nor will the census publish any information that identifies an individual, household or business. For more information about privacy and identity protection, go to https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp/protect-information.html.
“When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous and confidential. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court,” Rickman added.
Follow Ups by Phone
To minimize the need to send census takers to households in person, the Census Bureau is training census takers to follow up with households by phone. Using information provided to the Census Bureau and third-party purchased data, the Census Bureau has a strong contact list for both landlines and cellphones assigned to houses on the Census Bureau’s address list.
Phone calls will be used on an as-needed basis and when in-person contact attempts have not resulted in an interview. If a voicemail is available, the census taker will leave a message asking the household to call one of the Census Bureau’s call centers.
How to Identify Census Takers
Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public may contact the Denver/Dallas Regional Census Center at (972) 510-1800 to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
What Households Can Expect
In most cases, census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notification of the attempted visit on the door. The notification will include reminder information on how to respond online, by paper or by phone. In addition, census workers may try to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview.
The City of Las Cruces Community Engagement Office, along with agency partner Doña Ana County, co-chairs the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC), an ad hoc committee created to obtain the most accurate and complete population count by designing and implementing a census awareness campaign targeted to the community. The Community Engagement Office can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 575/575-4551.