Census invitations to go out soon

Published 9:40 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

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It’s officially time for the U.S. Census, and folks in Suffolk can expect to receive forms inviting them to participate in March.

Participating in the decennial count of everyone living in the United States as of April 1 is important for many reasons, said Timothy Maddaloni, assistant regional census manager.

“Overall, it gives an accurate picture of the nation and the community,” Maddaloni said. “It provides billions of dollars of funding to the local communities to use on roads, schools, hospitals and a variety of things that the communities need. If we do not get a complete and accurate response to the census, funding could be lost within their communities.”

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From March 12-20, households should receive an official Census Bureau mailing with information on how to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail. Maddaloni said everyone who is able to respond online is encouraged to do so, as it will help save money.

A reminder letter will be sent from March 16-24. Those who haven’t responded will receive a reminder postcard March 26 to April 3, and then a reminder letter with the paper questionnaire from April 8-16. A final reminder postcard will be sent April 20-27.

Beginning in May, anyone who has not responded yet will receive a personal visit from a census taker.

“The fourth mailout will have the paper form,” Maddaloni said. “If they do not reply after the fifth attempt, that’s when someone will come and knock on the door.

“The objective is to have everyone self-respond,” he continued, “because it will be more accurate and save taxpayer money.”

Maddaloni reminded that there is no citizenship question on the census, and that everyone living in the United States will be counted.

“We are going to count everyone, no matter race, ethnicity, citizenship — we count everyone, no matter what,” he said. “We’re a data agency. We’re collecting statistics.”

Maddaloni said the census bureau has taken every precaution and done vigorous testing to ensure the online process is secure. In another show of how far census technology has advanced, workers who make personal visits will be using an app on a heavily encrypted, census-issued iPhone.

According to the 2020 Census website, the Census will not send unsolicited emails to request participation. The Census Bureau also won’t ask for Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers, or any donations.

For those who receive an in-person visit from a census worker, they should make sure they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. They can also call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

For those who may be looking for part-time work, Maddaloni said the census is reaching the end of its hiring process, but everyone is still encouraged to apply at www.2020census.gov/jobs. The pay in the Suffolk area is $18.50 per hour and $20.50 for supervisors.

“We’re two months away from Census Day,” Maddaloni said. “The response to the 2020 Census shapes the future of the nation and your community.

“It’s the next 10 years. We’re not going to be able to fix this until 10 years from now.”