Officials with the U.S. Census Bureau say the decennial process of counting the population of the United States is reaching a tipping point.
Two things are happening currently with the census: A postcard reminder has been sent this week to all non-responding homes. Those who still don’t respond will have census takers visit them in person to ask census questions beginning Aug. 11.
According to data released Monday, 67.8% of Adair County households have responded. The county is divided into three equal census tracts with just shy of 3,000 people in each tract. The central tract in the county that contains Greenfield and Fontanelle has the highest response rate of 72.3%. The northern tract has a 64.4% response rate and the southern part has a 65.1% response rate.
According to the Census Bureau, 68% of Iowa households have responded to the Census thus far, but that means one in three households still need to do so.
“Overall, it has been a pretty good response rate. The reminder postcards coming out will say ‘Please Respond Now,’ but there’s still time to respond,” said Maureen Schriner, Media Specialist for the 2020 Census in Iowa and Minnesota.
“What we like to say is that the census takes less than 10 minutes and it has 10 years of impact on the community.”
Census data is used for decision making purposes by governments, businesses and non-profit organizations alike, Schriner said.
One of the ways census data is used is that billions of dollars in federal funding is determined by census data. Representation is also always based on representation at the federal and state level.
“The other example for rural Iowa is funding for roads and highways. Those decisions are driven by census data,” Schriner said. “There is also funding for hospitals, emergency response services, schools, job training programs...that’s one of the important aspects of it.”