(Jan. 10, 2020) Worcester County government has received $20,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Planning to help it get the most accurate count possible in the upcoming 2020 census.
Worcester’s Complete Count Committee will use the funds for community outreach projects and marketing to increase census participation and education.
Kelly Henry, technical services division manager and coordinator of the Complete Count Committee, said that they will use part of the funds to make contact with those who only have a post office pox and not a physical address, to mail the census forms and to purchase magnetic decals. It may also be used to purchase two tablets for census workers, public event supplies and a local TV advertisement.
Henry said they are discussing major events through which the committee can provide census education. She emphasized that private information is not shared with others.
“Personal information such as social security number or credit card numbers is not requested,” Henry said. “No one should be charging you to take the survey.”
According to Ed Tudor, director of review and permitting, the population count is vital because every person not counted results in the loss of $18,250 in federal funds to state and local jurisdictions over the next 10 years. The census count determines public assistance funding and can change congressional representation.
Worcester County formed the Complete Count Committee in October to attempt to reach 100 percent participation. The committee consists of individuals affiliated with community organizations such as education, government, business and media.
Henry said that the committee has been discussing how to overcome the biggest obstacles: language barriers, distrust, homeless and transient populations and limited internet access.
This is especially important for Worcester County, since it had the lowest response rate of Maryland counties in the 2010 census. Nine out of 15 county census tracts had a low response rate in 2010.
The first census mailing to residents will go out of March 12. For the first time, the census will be available online.