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Politics & Government

2020 Census Takers Follow Up With Non Responsive Oregon Residents

2020 census follow up.jpeg
United States Census Bureau

So far, almost two-thirds of Oregonians have responded to the U.S. Census. Last week, census takers started visiting homes that have yet to respond to the survey, as they try to make up for time lost due to the pandemic.

Because the constitutionally mandated count got a late start, the United States Census Bureau has less time than usual to compile the data.

Charles Rynerson, a demographer with the Population Research Center at Portland State University, says that the decision to delay was a point of political contention that may threaten data accuracy.

“The accelerated schedule is quite controversial because there’s great concern that there’s not enough time for the nonresponse followup," says Rynerson. "It usually goes on for over a three month period and now it’s being compressed into a two month period.”

The nonresponse followup operations will go on until the end of September.

This information is crucial in allocating funding and determining congressional representation.

“The Census Bureau will tell you the goal is to count everybody once and only once and in the right place. That’s their motto," says Rynerson. "The best thing that people can do is self respond, and about two thirds of Oregonians have done that.”

One of the Census B ureau’s goals is to get an accurate count of certain groups of people that are often undercounted. For example, Native Americans living on reservations and children under age five. Rynerson says that self-response saves the government money that can then be spent on ensuring a more complete count.

Census takers must complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing protocols before beginning their work door-to-door. People are still able to self-respond to the census online or by phone if they don’t want an employee coming to their house.