With states beginning to reopen throughout the country in phases, census workers are back in action to continue with the 10-year number crunch.
The Census Bureau began its work Sunday, March 15 but were quickly shut down to the COVID-19 pandemic that crippled the country. Field workers were stopped Wednesday, March 18 from going house-to-house.
“The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin to drop off 2020 Census questionnaire packets at front doors of households in Iowa starting the week of May 18,” the U.S. Census Bureau said in a press release.
Field workers are not resuming door-to-door operations just yet, but are resuming for those who receive mail at places other than their home.
Minnesota and Iowa’s media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureaus Maureen Schriner said the operation that’s resuming is for “those 14,000 some for “those 14,000 some households in Iowa that don’t usually get their mail at their household.”
The field workers resuming work were trained to follow social distancing rules and will wear “government-provided personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public.”
The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to deliver questionnaires to roughly 14,705 households in Iowa.
The importance of the census goes beyond the number of individuals in a town or county but has a strong economic impact on federal funding.
“This operation is crucial to ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities, which helps guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year,” the U.S. Census Bureau said in a press release.
In an interview with the News Advertiser on May 7, Creston mayor Gabe Carroll said he hopes to be atop the response rate in the county and state and those who have limited internet access or lost mail for some citizens could hurt the amount of money Creston could receive.
“We know every census there are a number of people that don’t respond for whatever reason,” said Carroll. “We know from other sources of data there are probably around 10,000 people living in the Creston area. Anything reported below that, the official number they use to determine our funding, ... anyone that doesn’t fill it out is essentially costing Creston and Union County money that we could otherwise get.”
In addition to the economic gain and importance Creston and Union County would receive from the max number of completed census data, is the legislative importance.
The larger number of representatives in each city and county, the larger the influence on the state’s legislature.
“Funding is one of the most important,” Schriner said. “... The other reason census data is so important is because it’s used to determine Iowa’s representation in Congress in terms of numbers of seats in the House of Representatives that Iowa has. But also for Creston and Union County, the census data will determine your community’s representation, how districts are drawn for state legislative seats.”