Census Bureau workers in Colorado will head back out into mostly rural neighborhoods across the state next week after holding off for two months because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“For the health and safety of Census employees and the public, field staff will observe social distancing protocols and will wear personal protective equipment,” said Laurie Cipriano, a media specialist with the bureau.
Field workers were supposed to hand-deliver census packets in March to homes lacking direct mail delivery, ahead of the official count day of April 1. That didn’t happen. The bureau is urging people who haven’t already received a census form, who live in a rural area and who lack a “city-style” address to hold off until the packet is delivered.
Cipriano said field workers will not ring doorbells or knock. They will drop off packets with information on how to complete the census form online, as well as a paper form for those who prefer to mail in their responses.
Once the packets arrive, those who receive them should respond as quickly as possible. Any responses should reflect the situation as of April 1, the effective date of the count. For example, a baby born on April 2 or later shouldn’t be included in a household count.
Overall, Colorado’s census response rate was 62.1% as of May 15, which ranks 17th among U.S. states.
Across the state, response rates vary widely, which will have implications for how federal funding and political representation are allocated.
As of May 15, three counties in the state had response rates above 70%, including Douglas at 74.8%, Jefferson at 74% and Broomfield at 70.5%. Four counties had response rates below 10%. They include Grand at 8.8%, Jackson at 8% and Hinsdale at 7.1%.
But there’s still time. The July 31 deadline to complete the census has been extended to Oct. 31.
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