2020 US Census comes to Wahkiakum
February 21, 2019
Wahkiakum County should begin preparing for the 2020 US Census, county officials were told Tuesday.
US Bureau Partnership Specialist Lorraine Ralston introduced the county board of commissioners to the process and suggested the county form a local group called a "complete count committee" to support local efforts.
Census data has important uses, she said, including becoming a deciding factor in funding appropriations ranging from Medicaid to highway construction. It is also used to redistrict the seats in the US House of Representatives.
To optimize results, the 2020 census will rely on self-response using the internet or toll free telephones, Raltson said. In areas without good internet access, traditional methods such as the mailed paper form will be used. Census workers will very rarely go to a residence, Ralston said.
All data is confidential, Ralston said, and census workers are strictly prohibited from releasing any personal data.
While the census counts people on April 1, 2020, census workers have already begun advance work. This year, they'll set up regional offices and staffs. They'll study current demographics to determine where they can rely on internet reporting and where they'll have to use paper forms. At some point, they'll be able to print forms. They'll promote the local current count committees and begin community education and promotional efforts.
The local committees are volunteer groups established by local governments and which include community leaders and organizations. They'll receive training and establish a work plan in 2019, and in early 2020, they'll begin community awareness and motivation efforts.
The Census Bureau will also have paid positions; more information may be found at http://www.2020census.gov/jobs.
County commissioners said they would discuss their ideas for local efforts at a future meeting.