(March 8, 2019) The best way to get the most complete head count in the 2020 census is to use people known and trusted by the community where the count is taking place.
That was the advice Tuesday to the Worcester County Commissioners from Jillian Cordova, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau in the Philadelphia Region.
Because good census counts are vital for jurisdictions seeking to benefit from state and federal spending, Cordova proposed that the county establishing “Complete Count Committees” to prepare for the population count next year.
Cordova said through a “neighbor-to-neighbor” program, committee members would be “familiar faces and trusted figures in the community.”
These committees would be responsible for letting the public know how important the census is through newsletters and online resources.
Also, as Gov. Larry Hogan’s census executive order says, “A complete and accurate count of Maryland’s population is essential to the state since it determines congressional representation, state redistricting, and federal funding allocations for the next 10 years.”
Of concern locally, Cordova said, are the low response scores from Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke in 2010.
Cordova added the 2020 census would have an online option, which she said could possibly be difficult for participants over 65 years of age, and she said obtaining participation from families with children under 5 years old and the immigrant population could be difficult.
There is also a free resource for educators called, “Statistics in Schools,” because “sometimes the best messengers are children.”
Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic recommended starting a conversation with the county’s Board of Education.
“The immigrant population of the county is very involved with their children’s schooling, and are very receptive to getting things sent home in the mail, so we can have it explained to them…” he said.
Cordova also said she’s recruiting for census canvassing jobs starting at $18.50 per hour.
Mitrecic emphasized how census participation is vital.
“People don’t realize it’s a lot of the funding the county can receive is based on the census and if we have reporting of the census, that means we’ll have more funding in the future,” he said.