The soft launch of Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU) to the 2020 US Census has begun in West Virginia. Census takers will be visiting households that have not responded to the 2020 Census now through October 31.
To ensure everyone is counted, census takers visit households that haven’t responded yet to the 2020 Census to collect their responses in person. These visits will begin July 16 in communities covered by six area census offices—one in each census region. One of these six regions is The Beckley Lane which includes all of West Virginia. The U.S. Census Bureau soft launches large-scale operations like this to ensure all systems and procedures are ready to launch nationwide.
West Virginia currently has a 53.6% response rate. That means, with a population of over 1.7 million people, over 960,000 West Virginians have not been counted during the initial self-respond period. Only New Mexico and Alaska have worse response rates. Ohio County's response rate is currently at 61.1%. With a population of approximately 41,000, that means there are still over 25,000 uncounted residents. Why is it so important to get everyone counted? Census data helps inform planning efforts for Wheeling and the greater Ohio Valley region and determines how much funding our local schools, roads, libraries, and more receive in the coming decade. Our response rate shapes West Virginia's and Ohio County's future for the next ten years!
Census takers will follow public health guidelines when they visit. Census takers are trained to:
• Wear a mask.
• Conduct the interview outside a home in an open, well-ventilated space, when possible.
• Allow 6 feet of space between them and the person they are interviewing.
• Not allow anyone else to handle Census Bureau equipment.
• Follow healthy hygiene habits for frequent hand-washing, avoiding contact with hightouch surfaces, avoiding touching their face, etc.
If a household does not want to conduct the interview in person, they can provide the census taker with their phone number to complete it over the phone.
• Interviews are confidential.
• Answers cannot be shared with immigration or law enforcement agencies.
• Census takers must keep answers confidential for life. They face stiff fines and jail time if they break that law.
Households can identify the census takers by their:
• 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 is quick and easy. The census taker will ask the household the 2020 Census questions and enter the answers in their secure Census Bureau phone.
You can expect:
• A few questions like name, age, race, and sex.
• No questions regarding Social Security numbers, bank information, or citizenship status.
• Availability of a census taker who speaks your language. Households can request a return visit if needed.
• A visit between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time, including on weekends when people are likely to be home. If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of the visit with information about how to respond online or by phone. If necessary, a census taker will return several times to ensure the household is accurately included in the census.
Census takers are from your community. They know that a complete and accurate count will benefit your area. By answering a few questions, you’ll help shape the future of your community for the next 10 years.
The 2020 Census results determine how many seats your state gets in Congress and how public funds are spent on libraries, schools, roads, fire and emergency services, hospitals, and more in your community.
Please encourage members of our community to respond now instead of waiting for a census taker to visit and to talk with the census taker if they do receive a visit.
Even after census takers begin visiting your area, households can still respond online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by mail until October 31. Households can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more at http://2020census.gov/languages.
Note: Some households that have already responded may still get a call or visit from a census taker conducting quality checks. Download a pdf with information about the 2020 Soft Launch of Census Taker Visits. For more information on the 2020 Census, FAQs, and information about it affects our community, visit ohiocountylibrary.org/census.
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