BRISTOL – Despite ongoing concerns with the coronavirus pandemic, so far Bristol is ahead of the state and the nation in responding to the 2020 Census.
The first wave of invites to respond to the short census questionnaire online, by mail, or by phone went out last week and reminders are going to homes this week. If none of those work, a census taker can visit individual homes for the information.
Based on the online Census Response Rate Tracker, as of March 24 the overall self-response rate for Bristol is 29.5% so far.
The tracker website listed Connecticut’s overall self response rate as 26.9% and the national self response rate is 26.2% so far.
“The key message to the Bristol citizenry is that we receive $9.5 million a year from federal government sources and it is all based on population. So we need to ensure that we have a complete count in order to continue to receive our share of funds for housing, transportation, police, fire, and education,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.
With many people now at home from work and school, Jamie McDonald, partner specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau New York Regional Office, said the COVID-19 situation has really thrown a curve ball to the census awareness campaigns and it is even more important now to get the word out.
“Now is a great time for everyone to go complete the census online,” McDonald said. “The census is easy, safe and important. While folks are staying home, they can spend 10 minutes or less answering online or on the phone. If by chance they did not get an ID in the mail, they can still reply. There is a ‘click’ for No ID.”
McDonald emphasized the census data is used during times of natural disaster for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to determine population in a given area. It also helps determine funds for hospitals, police, fire and schools as well as so many other organizations that will be called upon during this time of uncertainty.
Since January, the U.S. Census Bureau and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who is spearheading the Connecticut Complete Count Committee to help push state efforts in the census, has been conducting awareness campaigns to educate the community about the importance of participating.
About $11 billion comes to Connecticut to fund critical federal programs, such as school lunches, senior energy assistance, block grants, transportation, Medicare and many others, said Bysiewicz.
“The census is also critical to the economy and for elected representatives. Both Congress and the state legislature will be redirected based on information gathered in the 2020 census,” she said.
With every person that doesn’t get counted, the state loses $2,900, she continued. “That’s a lot of money and a big consequence to our local programs.”
The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the bureau.
For more information, visit: www.2020census.gov
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.