Worcester County’s 2020 census response rate is less than 1 percent from matching its 2010 census response rate.

(Sept. 11, 2020) Worcester County, with a 32.6 percent response rate to this year’s census as of Wednesday, is less than 1 percent away from matching its participation in the 2010 headcount, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The deadline to respond to the 2020 census is Wednesday, Sept. 30. The deadline has changed multiple times, partly because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two census tracts in Ocean Pines and one in Berlin have surpassed their 2010 response rates. A Snow Hill tract has the highest response rate at 72 percent, but it’s still 4 percent shy of the 2010 response rate. 

A tract in Ocean City has the lowest response rate at 6.2 percent, but that is because the resort town has many vacation homes. People who have a second home in Worcester County should still fill out the census form and simply select the option that the home is not the primary residence. 

Kelly Henry, technical services division manager and Complete Count Committee coordinator, said another round of paper surveys have been mailed to addresses that have not responded yet to minimize contact. 

Much of traditional census advertising and events were either postponed or limited in comply with covid-19 safety guidelines, including a delay in enumerator visits. 

“U.S. Census enumerators are out going door-to-door to those houses that have not completed the census survey,” Henry said. 

She said the census is important because the statistics gathered will determine legislative boundaries and distribute $675 billion in federal funding for the next 10 years. 

“These monies are used to fund transportation projects, education, community services and health care,” Henry said. “Since revenues are going to be lower than normal due to covid-19, it is important that everyone is counted so Worcester County and its four municipalities receive proper funding.” 

Marketing companies also use census statistics to determine locations of commercial and industrial businesses. 

“Everyone in some way or another, young or old, English speaking or Spanish-speaking, White or Black, rich or poor, owner, renter or homeless, is impacted by the statistical data collected through the census,” Henry said. “Everyone counts.” 

Despite the obstacles covid-19 has presented, Henry still believes Worcester will meet the 2010 response rate of 33.2 percent. The county had the lowest response rate of all Maryland jurisdictions in 2010. 

“The great thing about the 2020 census – people can complete the survey from anywhere online or by phone,” Henry said. “It is so easy, safe and important.” 

She said the census will take just 10 minutes to complete. The census survey and enumerators do not ask about citizenship. 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 to fill it out online.

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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