Census officials are working with local partners in New Hampshire to get the word out about the 2020 Census. The city of Rochester held an event on Tuesday at Great Bay Community College Advanced Technology campus and invited community leaders to share ideas on how to increase participation in 2020.
Census Day is April 1st, 2020. The first address canvassing operation has already begun in mid-August and will continue until mid-October in all 10 counties in New Hampshire.
At the meeting, city planners, town officials and educators all agreed that accurate Census numbers are deeply important to their work and that there are some challenges up ahead.
Julian Long is the Community Development Coordinator for the City of Rochester. He says funding for social services relies heavily on Census numbers and the people who most need these services are sometimes the hardest to count.
“For populations that might have other things going on – severe mental health issues or substance use disorders – responding to a Census inquiry isn’t at the top their lists,” said Long. “But they’re people that need services and they definitely need to be counted.”
Kyle Danie, the Community Engagement Officer at the Rochester Police Department, says residents can be skeptical about sharing their personal information and that police can help the Census build trust.
“We get a lot of scam calls,” said Danie. “We’re trying to educate people on ‘hey this isn’t a scam,’ so it’s assuring that the Census isn’t looking for social security numbers or donations or anything like that.”
Rochester had a relatively low response rate during the 2010 Census. In one tract close to downtown, an estimated 21.2% of residents were not counted. Low response during the 2010 Census were also found in parts of Manchester, Nashua, Durham and other areas. A full list of 2010 response rates and other data can be found here.
Census workers attended the event in hopes to expand the number of partnerships in the state, which already include cities like Berlin, Nashua and Portsmouth, as well as public libraries and the Dartmouth College Library.