2020 Census shortens response deadline to September 30th
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that the timeline for the census has been shortened.
Initially, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for filling out the census was extended to October 31st. That deadline has been moved to September 30th.
“We only have about six weeks left to get a complete count of our community before the census closes and we lose that opportunity for the next ten years,” Fairbanks North Star Borough Complete Count Committee Coordinator Alysha Childs said.
According to Childs, the census has been performing non-response follow-up, in which enumerators are going door to door asking census questions to anyone who has not responded, since August 11th.
Childs said the deadline was moved in order to provide enough time for data to be compiled and the full numbers ready by December 31st.
Fairbanks, according to Childs, stands at about a 50 percent response rate. “We definitely have areas of the borough that have a very low self-response rate right now,” she said, adding that the census tract that includes Salcha stands at about 23 percent.
“If we don’t have a complete count of the borough, there’s a good chance we are going to have a reduction in the federal funding that comes for services that we really need in our community – things like the SNAP program, things like school lunch nutrition programs, [and] funding for infrastructure,” she said.
According to Childs, certain groups are historically undercounted. “People of color are historically undercounted in the census, especially immigrants are undercounted. Children under the age of five are undercounted. A lot of households will respond, but for some reason or another will not include their kids who are not school age. We’re not really sure why that is, but that’s one of the hard to count communities. Also young adults between the ages of 18 and 30, especially young males between that age, have a lower self-response rate.”
Childs noted that the federal government is required to do a census every ten years according to Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. “That’s why people aren’t able to just opt out of the census, because the federal government does have a legal obligation to make sure that they are doing fair representation. And part of being able to do a fair representation is knowing how many people are in the country. And it’s not just citizens, it’s not just people paying their taxes, it is every single person residing in the United States,” she said.
The online census can be filled out online.
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