In a special meeting held with the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, Tracy Stevens with the United States Census Bureau gave information to the board regarding the upcoming 2020 Census.
With more than $590 billion in federal funding on the line, the census is critical in helping to allocate those funds. These funds are allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and much more.
Stevens noted businesses would rely on census data to make decisions on where to locate businesses, products and services to offer as well as how to attract customers.
With the upcoming census, employees are being hired for the purpose of knocking on doors in the community to ask the 10 questions on the census form. Those that do not return the census in the mail will be receiving these visits.
“We know if people are knocking on your doors, you may be leery,” said Stevens. “Everybody that works with the census will have identification and they all have had federal background checks. It is mandatory we carry our ID’s with us at all times.”
“We also want to make sure people know their data is safe,” Stevens continued. “Since 1790 there has not been a breach. It is illegal for us to share personal data with any other entity including the FBI, CIA, anybody. We can’t share that.”
“It will ask you for your name, birthdate and age, but that data is just statistical data only,” said Stevens.
As the census bureau looks to hire employees to help with the 2020 Census, Stevens noted it may or may not be Wayne County residents knocking on local doors.
“It’s important that the people here in the city and county know there will be folks out walking around,” said Supervisor David Dotts. “We have had trouble with scammers on the phone and going to people’s houses so I wanted the newspaper here to get that out.”
“You can also go onto census.gov, you can go under information and it will tell you employees and you can type that person’s name in and it will tell you if they are a census employee,” said Stevens. “If they don’t have identification or they don’t tell you their name then that will send up a red flag.”
“Unfortunately that is the world we live in and there are people that are going to try to take advantage of opportunities,” said Stevens. “We will never, ever ask for a social security number either.”
“The people you hire will set their own hours also correct?” asked Supervisor Tom Swearingin.
“Yes that will fluctuate,” said Stevens.
People can begin to respond at the end of March 2020 to questionnaires mailed out. April 1, 2020 has been named Census Day.
At the end of May, any addresses notified as non-responsive will have the census employees beginning to knock on their doors to ask the census questions in person.
In the past there has been long and short forms to answer for the Census, however Stevens noted this year there is only the 10 questions to answer. You can visit https://2020census.gov for more information. Questions can also be directed to Stevens at (515) 817-3906 or by email at email@example.com.
“We are reaching out to communities to educate, engage and encourage them to respond,” said Stevens. “We know everyone isn’t going to go on the internet. Ideally we would like them to because it’s real time and the information is then in right away. It also makes it where you don’t have the people knocking on your door.”