Census Virtual Tool Reflects Self-Reporting Participation

WEAKLEY COUNTY (July 24, 2020) — Although this year’s U.S. Census count procedure is different compared to 10 years ago, the Bureau continues to make efforts to get everyone counted. Reminder postcards were mailed to approximately 34.3 million households across the country this week reminding residents they have yet to be counted.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2020 Census provides a snapshot of the nation. The results of the once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state holds in the House of Representatives. Figures also determine the drawing of congressional and state legislative districts.
“I’m not sure if everyone realizes the impact that these federal dollars provided by Census data have on rural counties and communities like ours. For the next ten years, our Census 2020 response will determine our allocation of funding for so many programs – including school lunches, highway construction, SNAP Benefits, Medicaid, housing assistance, community development grants, rural water and waste disposal systems, rural fire department trucks, and so much more. Whether they realize it or not, every person in Weakley County is affected – directly or indirectly – by Census response data,” Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum noted.
Results highlight where communities need new schools, new clinics and new roads. Numbers reflect how federal funding is allocated for more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Federal funding for school lunches, highway construction and education is also determined from the 2020 Census count.
The United States Constitution mandates the country count its population every 10 years. The last Census count took place in 2010. The global coronavirus pandemic pushed the door-to-door census taking from mid-May to mid-August. The Census made its first push for households to participate in March 2020.
“In the face of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, an accurate count is more important than ever before. Our communities will be counting on federal and state funding as we face the financial impact that economists anticipate. It is essential that every individual in Weakley County works together to complete the Census in order to achieve the most accurate count,” Bynum said.
As the time draws near for Census takers to conduct household surveys, the Bureau is offering a virtual community snapshot of household participation on the web, https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html.
Information posted Friday, July 24, 2020, shows Tennessee is ranked 27th in the nation for self-response rates, with 2 million households already reported via mail or online. Weakley County ranks 1,067 (tied with 14 counties) in the United States for self-reporting. The report tallies the percentage of self-reported residents, with additional information noted for those using the Bureau’s online reporting tool.
A city breakdown for the corporated municipalities in the county is as follows:
* Greenfield — 63.9 percent reporting; with 24 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool;
* Dresden — 62.9 percent reporting; with 22.4 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool;
* Martin — 58.6 percent reporting; with 49.7 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool;
* Sharon — 66.2 percent reporting; with 48.7 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool;
* Gleason — 67.3 percent reporting; with 22.3 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool.
Weakley is showing 62.6 percent self-reporting, with 37.1 percent utilizing the internet reporting tool. The City of Sharon is ranked 5,774 in the nation for its participation. Nationally, participation from self reports shows 62.4 percent, with 49.8 percent reporting online.
“In an effort to spread the word about the importance of completing the Census, we’ve launched a competition campaign with West Tennessee using the hashtag #NinetyBeforeNovember and #90BeforeNovember. The goal of the competition is for Weakley County to obtain a 90-percent response rate before November 1, 2020 – the deadline for completing the 2020 Census. Weakley County can’t be outdone by our neighboring counties! We must all make it our mission to have the highest response rate in West Tennessee,” Bynum said.
Overall, Tennessee lags behind its 67.1 percent self-reporting total this time of year in 2010, hovering at 61.7 percent in 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau continues to take self-reporting figures online through July 31, 2020. Census workers are expected to begin door-knocking across the nation August 11, 2020.
Households can identify census takers by the following:
* ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date;
* Census Bureau-issued phone. Many census takers will also carry a bag with the Census Bureau logo.
The interview process is reportedly quick and easy. The census taker will ask the household the 2020 Census questions and enter the answers in their secure Census Bureau phone.
Residents can expect the following:
* A few questions like name, age, race and sex;
* No questions regarding Social Security numbers, bank information or citizenship status;
* A visit between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time, including weekends when people are likely to be home. If no one is home at the time of the visit, the census taker will leave a notice of the visit with information about how to respond online or by phone.
By law, interviews are confidential, not to be shared with immigration or law enforcement agencies and census takers must keep answers confidential for life or they face stiff fines and jail time if they break that law.
The Census Bureau advises residents to beware of potential scams via email asking for participation; phone calls requesting Social Security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers or anyone asking for money or donations.
The Bureau is hiring for temporary part-time positions for census takers through its website, https://2020census.gov/jobs.
Completing the Census is quick, confidential, and might be the most important thing that we can do this year to help our county. Find out more info about the Census and the #NinetyBeforeNovember Challenge on our website, weakleycountytn.gov/census2020.html, Bynum concluded.
To respond online for the 2020 count, visit https://2020census.gov.

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