I wanted to reach out and let you know about a recent change in our operations that might affect your community.
About a week ago we changed our messaging for rural communities and PO box areas. This new message is different from what I shared with you at the recent city council meeting.
While we have been encouraging everyone to answer the census now -- whether they had received an invitation or not -- our new guidance is to ask people to wait until they receive an invitation. This primarily affects residences in rural areas or areas where most people receive their mail at a PO box.
The change was made to ensure we code these residences in the correct area. Because they have non-traditional mailing addresses, we need to send a census worker to the residence to confirm the location and geocode it to the correct census tract. In a perfect world we would have done this in March. Because of COVID-19 and the suspension of all field operations, we now expect to do this work in mid-June.
I apologize for the confusion for your community.
First, I want to reassure you that everyone will be counted. Already, 47.1% of households in the county have answered the census which is wonderful. Anyone who has received an invitation, whether they got in the mail or someone left a package at their door, should answer the census now. We are currently in the process of mailing paper questionnaires to anyone who has received the invitation but who has not answered the census.
For residences that have NOT been officially invited to answer the census, we are asking them to wait until they receive the official notice. Depending on guidance from public health officials, we expect to start distributing these invitations again on June 13.
Regardless of how people are notified about the census, we have extended the self-response period until Oct. 31 to allow plenty of time for people to participate.
Again, I sincerely apologize for the mixed messaging coming from the Census Bureau. Our operations are being affected across the board and we are trying to make sure that not only do we count everyone in the country, but that we also count them in the right place.
United States Census Bureau