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Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro reminds residents today that the U.S. Census count is underway and noted, “everyone needs be counted to ensure federal dollars flow fairly to communities.”
Census workers are now beginning to go door-to-door to collect responses from households which have not yet completed their census. Dutchess County’s response rate is currently at 62 percent, since the census began in March.
Every 10 years, as required by the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau undertakes the count, which largely determines how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed across the country. Census data is also used to determine the number of seats in Congress each state receives, and congressional and legislative lines will be redrawn based on these numbers. The federal government relies on census information — including the final headcount — to allocate funding for everything from highways to hospitals.
“There is a lot at stake and we need to make sure we are all counted to ensure we are properly represented and receive the funding our communities depend on,” County Executive Molinaro said. “Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to complete their census, whether you do it online or spend a few minutes with a local census worker who knocks at your door.”
In Dutchess County, census workers began collecting responses door-to-door today, August 11th. They will be visiting households that have not responded to the questionnaire through the internet or by phone or mail. Originally, the census count was to be completed this month but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Census Bureau had to temporarily suspend all field operations. While the Census Bureau was working under an Oct. 31 end date, it was recently announced the count will now end on September 30th, making the census workers’ mission even more challenging.
“With the deadline shortened, it’s essential people fill out the form as soon as possible and help spread the word to their neighbors and friends about how important the census is to their communities,” County Executive Molinaro said.
Local individuals employed as census workers carry a valid U.S. Department of Commerce ID badge with their photograph and an expiration date. They wear masks and following local public health guidelines, having completing a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols. Census assistance is also available by calling (844) 330-2020 for English or (844) 468-2020 for Spanish.
However, people do not have to wait until a census worker knocks on their door. They can go to My2020Census.gov and fill out the form, which takes about 10 minutes to complete. Personal information collected through the census is kept confidential for 72 years.
In 2019, County Executive Molinaro established the Dutchess County Complete Count Committee to conduct outreach and raise awareness about the importance of the census. Committee members represent various organizations from throughout Dutchess County and have a broad range of experience in community outreach. In the year since its inception, the committee has made presentations at municipal meetings and attended community events to educate the public about the importance of the census.
To find more about the census and the Complete Count Committee, visit DutchessNY.gov/census2020.