As concerns related to COVID-19 push the 2020 Census to the back of many people’s minds, City officials who’ve been promoting the count for months are urging residents to remember that an accurate count will help Victoria for years to come.
“People are worried about their immediate needs right now, and they don’t see how the Census will help them,” said Celeste Menchaca, City of Victoria development coordinator, who is helping to promote the 2020 Census. “The census is used to determine federal funding during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and responding now will help us to prepare for the future.”
The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the self-response period for the 2020 Census through the end of October, and the extra time will help local and federal officials continue their outreach efforts while adapting to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Complete Count Committee, a coalition of community leaders organized by the City of Victoria with the goal of promoting the 2020 Census, reconvened in May to discuss strategies. Although the full committee was unable to meet during the early stages of the COVID-19 emergency, subcommittees representing various sectors such as education, business and health care continued to correspond and update their plans. Menchaca said the committee will ramp up its outreach in the coming months with a greater focus on the connection between the pandemic and federal funding that is determined by the Census.
Despite the challenges, U.S. Census Bureau field recruiter Arthur Ramirez said Thursday that Victoria County’s response rate was above the state average and third among the 13 counties that make up the Fort Bend County enumeration area. Ramirez thanked the Complete Count Committee for their efforts to raise awareness.
Ramirez said that the bureau is still actively seeking applications for in-person enumerator and field supervisor positions. Residents can apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs.
Residents can respond to the 2020 Census by returning the paper forms they received in the mail; online at my2020census.gov; or by calling 844-330-2020.