August Start Due For 2020 Census Address Checks

Bureau employees venture into municipalities

NORRISTOWN PA – Government employees will fan out across western Montgomery County beginning next month (August 2019) to verify mail addresses that could ensure accurate delivery of the 2020 U.S. Census. They’ll particularly focus on parts of Pottstown borough and the Pottsgrove townships, the Census Bureau noted, because some of their residents have a poor record of returning its forms.

  • About 25 percent of core Pottstown residents failed to respond to earlier census inquiries, according to statistics currently generated by the agency’s online “Response Outreach Area Mapper.”
  • In sections of Lower Pottsgrove, the low-response score varies between 22 and 23 percent;
  • In West Pottsgrove, it’s between 18 and 22 percent; and
  • It’s best in Upper Pottsgrove, with a low-response rate of about 15 percent.

Getting as many responses as possible from as many households as possible, bureau representatives explained in recent public presentations, is in local residents’ best interests. Census information is used to distribute more than $675 billion dollars in federal funds to state and local governments. It helps plan for future education, health care, transportation, and social service needs.

It serves political needs, too, in creating federal, state, and local election districts.

The response problem isn’t limited to Pottstown and the Pottsgroves. Rates are also lower than desired in places like Royersford (between 20 and 23 percent), Schwenksville (20 percent), East Greenville (20 percent), and Collegeville (16 percent). Census canvassers will be looking at them as well.

County-wide address-checking tasks by employees of the bureau’s Norristown office are anticipated to continue through October.

August Start Ahead For 2020 Census Address Checks

Big money rides on census count

With potentially big money riding in the census outcome, the government fervently hopes people would pay it more attention. It acknowledges, however, that response rates depend upon the size of an area’s population, its household median income and the percentage of those living below the poverty level, the percentage of residents younger than age 5 or older than 65, and racial and language factors.

Additionally the Census Bureau, recognizing the nation’s digital transformation during the past decade, has begun moving beyond the postal service for next year’s count.

The 2020 Census will be “the first to offer everyone the opportunity to respond online,” the agency repeated Tuesday (July 16). “It’s a long way” from the count of 10 years earlier, the bureau admitted, “when all the questionnaires were on paper and an iPhone 4, (and) early Samsung or HTC cellphones were considered state of the art.”

Home assistants like Alexa and Siri now understand and reply to questions about the census as part of the bureau plan to emphasize technology in gathering census information. It’s also pushing promotional campaigns onto platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram “to connect and share its message with households across the country and hard-to-reach populations that are likely to be active on social media.”

Photo and graphic from the Census Bureau