Census takers making in-person visits

ELLSWORTH — Maine households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can expect a visit from a census taker.

The U.S. Census Bureau is following up in person with households that have not yet responded to the once-a-decade national headcount.

The Census Bureau is working to meet its goal of counting everyone once, only once and in the right place. Other efforts include:

  • Emailing households in low-responding areas to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census
  • In partnership with local organizations, hosting questionnaire assistance events in public places to share information and to allow residents to complete the Census on the spot

The current self-response rate in Maine is 55.6 percent, with just 42.2 percent of Hancock County households responding early this week. The Census Bureau will visit the remaining addresses to collect responses in person. Census takers may return to uncounted households multiple times, if necessary. All Census results will be collected by Sept. 30 so that they can be processed and released as statistics by Dec. 31, as required by law.

Households can still respond now by completing and mailing back the paper questionnaire they received, by responding online at 2020census.gov, or by phone at 844-330-2020. Households also can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more. Those that respond will not need to be visited to obtain their census response, although a small percentage will be contacted to confirm response information already gathered.

Participation in 2020 Census interviews should present a low risk of transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Census Bureau will provide face masks to census takers and requires that census takers wear a mask while conducting their work. They will follow CDC and local public health guidelines when they visit. Census takers must complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing protocols and other health and safety guidance before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

Census takers are hired from local communities. All census takers speak English, and many are bilingual. If a census taker does not speak the householder’s language, the household may request a return visit from a census taker who does. Census takers will also have materials on hand to help identify the household’s language.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of his or her visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. People are encouraged to cooperate with census takers and ensure that everyone who was living in their household as of April 1, 2020, is counted.

Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public may contact the New York Regional Census Center at (212) 882-7100 to speak with a Census Bureau representative.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers annually for the next 10 years.

For more information, visit 2020census.gov.

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