By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
Whether online, by phone or mail, Downriver cities have demonstrated strong 2020 U.S. Census response rates, above both the national response rate of 61.5 percent and the Michigan response rate of 67.8 percent.
As of publication, Downriver response rates include: Trenton, 82.0 percent; Allen Park, 81.6 percent; Riverview, 78.8 percent; Southgate, 77.7 percent; Wyandotte, 75.0 percent; Taylor, 72.7 percent; Lincoln Park, 71.6 percent; and Melvindale, 67.9 percent.
Responses are critical for communities because they help determine the allocation of population-based resources, which include funding for roads, schools, public safety and healthcare facilities.
Chicago U.S. Census Regional Director Marilyn Sanders said the bureau is hiring people who will complete the census canvas by going door-to-door in every neighborhood. Those hired will include local people, including Arabic, Hispanic and African Americans.
She said measures are being developed to keep canvassers safe from COVID-19 exposure, and will include personal protective equipment and social distancing.
Sanders said that because of the pandemic, the opportunity to respond online has been “a blessing.” The 2020 Census is the first to use an online response platform.
She said that one of the biggest challenges the U.S. Census faces is assuring people that their personal data is safe, is never revealed to other agencies, and is instead used for reapportionment and redistricting, which determines a region’s representation in Congress.
“For the next 10 years, so many decisions will be based on the data that we collect,” Sanders said. “Your responses shape the future of your nation and your community, and the children that come after us.”
For more information, as well as the response rates of other cities, go to 2020census.gov/en/response-rates.