LIHU‘E — The U.S. Census Bureau is encouraging Kaua‘i’s individuals and families to complete their 2020 Census before Sept. 30th, by mail, online or over the phone.
Jennifer Callejo, a resident of ‘Ele‘ele responded right away to the census and said it was an easy process.
“Log on…answer a few questions and you’re done,” said Callejo. “Ten minutes of your time can determine the next 10 years of your life.”
Donald Bendz, a spokesperson of the U.S. Census Bureau, said more households on Kaua‘i have responded to the 2020 Census than in 2010.
The survey opened in mid-March nationwide. Currently, the self-response rate for Kaua‘i is 52.8% compared to the rest of the state which stands at 61.5%, and according to Bendz, there is still a lot of work to be done on Kaua‘i.
“We have census takers visiting the households that have not responded yet,” said Bendz. “We ask that if a census taker comes to your door, that you cooperate.”
Although the community’s answers are important, Bendz said the health and safety of the American public is the top concern at the Census Bureau.
“We’ve made adjustments over the last few months to keep the public safe,” said Bendz. “What the public will notice now is the census takers will be wearing masks and follow the local health department guidelines.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a joint statement with the U.S. Census Bureau stating that an interview with a census taker is low risk. The CDC said household members encountered by census staff are encouraged to maintain social distances during interviews and practice other safety recommendations as much as possible.
“We feel that once people know these three points, that they are more likely to fill out the census: it’s safe, easy, and important,” Bendz said. “We do not share your answers in a way that can be traced back to you, and your answers cannot be used against you by law enforcement.”
Bendz said the census determines political representation in Congress and determines how hundreds of billions of dollars are distributed back to local communities.
“During these unprecedented times, now more than ever, it is crucial that we fill out the Census survey,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement. “In order for us to ensure our share of federal funding over the next 10 years, we need to make sure that we count everyone here on the island.”
Kawakami said that for every 1% of Hawai‘i’s total population that is undercounted, the state loses out on $37 million each year for the next 10 years.
For more info: 2020census.gov.