By on 10.14.20 in Carolina Demographics, Census 2020

Yesterday SCOTUS issued an order setting aside a lower court order that extended the 2020 Census through October 31, 2020, allowing the Trump administration to end counting soon. Last night, the Census Bureau issued  an operations update stating that Census collection will end on October 15, 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

When does the Census end?

Self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census will conclude on October 15, 2020.

Specifically:

  • Internet self-response will be available across the nation through October 15, 2020 until 11:59 pm Hawaii Standard Time (HST), (6:00 am Eastern Daylight Time on October 16, 2020) Visit https://2020census.gov/ to respond today.
  • Phone response will be available for its regularly scheduled time on October 15, 2020. Click here for schedule and a list of numbers.
  • Paper responses must be postmarked by October 15, 2020.
  • Nonresponse Followup census takers will continue resolving nonresponding addresses through the end of the day on October 15, 2020.

What can I do between now and tomorrow night?

  • The NC Counts Coalition has developed a toolkit with messaging and social media images. Please share these on social media and encourage your constituents and friends to fill out the Census.
  • You can still fill out the Census through October 15 at 11:59 Hawaii Standard Time (6:00 am EDT October 16, 2020) You can respond to the Census online at My2020Census.gov,  through the paper questionnaire received in the mail or over the phone by calling:
    • English 844-330-2020,
    • Español 844-468-2020
    • 普通话 844-391-2020
      粤语 844-398-2020
      tiếng Việt 844-461-2020
      한국어 844-392-2020
      pусский 844-417-2020
      العربية:844-416-2020
      Tagalog 844-478-2020
      Polski 844-479-2020
      Français 844-494-2020
      Kreyòl Ayisyen 844-477-2020
      Português 844-474-2020
      日本語 844-460-2020
    • Telephone Display Device: 844-467-2020
    • For #PuertoRico residents: English 844-418-2020 Español 844-426-2020
  • Ask your friends and family members if they have completed the 2020 Census.
  • Send a note to your neighborhood listserv, NextDoor community, or Facebook group.
  • Ask your religious institutions, schools, and other community facilities if they can remind people to fill out the 2020 Census using their newsletters.

What does 99.9% enumerated mean?

This reflects the total enumeration rate, meaning all households counted through self-response—in which a household member fills out the 2020 Census form online, by phone, or by mail—or counted through the non-response follow-up operation when Census Bureau workers go door-to-door). According to the October 13, 2020 report, in North Carolina:

  • 63.2% self-responded and
  • 36.5% were counted in non-response follow-up (NRFU).

The 99.9% enumerated captures the total number of housing units that responded directly or were resolved during NRFU.

Doesn’t this mean most people have been counted? Why is it important that the count continue through October 15?

Only self-response rates tell us how many North Carolina households have been counted. The 36.5% of North Carolina housing units enumerated under non-response follow-up (NRFU) tells us the remainder of the housing units processed by the Bureau, but not whether (and how) they were counted.

Census workers can resolve households in NRFU in several ways:

  • Directly interview a non-responding household;
  • Use a proxy respondent, such as a neighbor, to provide information on a non-responding household;
  • Flag households as needing administrative records or statistical imputation procedures to fill in the gaps; or
  • Determine that the address is vacant or missing.

Responses collected during NRFU are less accurate and less complete than responses obtained during self-response. Additionally, we do not know how housing units counted under NRFU were resolved.

We are still below our 2010 self-response rate of 64.8% and our rate is far below the national average. This low self-response rate puts North Carolina at increased risk of an undercount, jeopardizing our fair share of federal dollars for the next decade.