Worcester County reached a census response rate of 33.3 percent this week. Residents have until Saturday, Oct. 31 to fill out the census.

(Oct. 9, 2020) For the fifth time, the 2020 Census deadline has been revised. Residents now have until Saturday, Oct. 31 to fill out the survey for the decennial population count.

The deadline was originally July 31, but was extended to Aug. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was extended to Oct. 31 for the same reason, but then shortened to Sept. 30, and then Oct. 5 and is now back to Oct. 31 via a court order.

The Trump administration had been fighting for a quicker deadline, presumably so the census statistics could be completed by the end of the year.

With an extended deadline, more people will have the chance to fill out the survey and be counted.

Worcester County, which had the lowest participation rate of Maryland counties in 2010, has a participation rate of 33.3 percent, just barely surpassing its 2010 rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

This year has been especially trying for census efforts, as the coronavirus hampered many community advertising opportunities and slowed down door-to-door visits.

The census determines funding for schools, health care and road construction, as well as congressional districts. For every person not counted, state and local jurisdictions lose $18,250 in federal funds over the next 10 years.

The county has emphasized that those living in second or vacation homes in Worcester should still fill out the census and simply select the option that states that Worcester is not the primary residence.

The census only has nine questions regarding name, age, gender and how many people live in the household. It does not ask about citizenship and information will not be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Call 844-330-2020 to complete the census over the phone. The phone line is open every day from 7-2 a.m. Visit 2020census.gov for more information.

Elizabeth covers Worcester County issues for Ocean City Today. In 2018, she graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a bachelor of arts. After graduation, Elizabeth spent a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Wilmington, Delaware.

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