With the deadline for the 2020 Census fast approaching, local census takers are going door to door to ensure that as many people as possible are counted. The last official day to respond to the 2020 Census is September 30.

With the deadline for the 2020 Census fast approaching, local census takers are going door to door to ensure that as many people as possible are counted. The last official day to respond to the 2020 Census is September 30.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original last day of the Census was moved to October 31, but the Census Bureau moved the date up to September 30. The date may be moved back to October 30 due to pending lawsuits, but for the time being, the last day to respond to the 2020 Census is September 30.

According to Tracy Wellendorf, chair of the local 2020 Census Committee, census takers are well into the process of going door to door in Montevideo and Chippewa County to speak with those who have not yet responded.

If you haven’t been contacted, you will be, but there is no need to be fearful of census workers. “If you have not responded to the 2020 Census, a census worker will come to your door,” said Wellendorf. “All census takers will be carrying a bag that says U.S. Census. They will also be carrying an identification badge which has an identification number. You can look up their employee number to verify that they are a legitimate census worker.”

Although some people may be concerned about privacy and what their answers may be used for, census workers will only ask the questions that appear on the census form. “Everything is confidential,” said Wellendorf. All the data they get from an individual is used for statistical purposes only, and the information will remain private for 72 years, meaning no one will have access to it until those 72 years are up.”

One issue facing census takers is the language barrier. Wellendorf said: “There was a push to hire bilingual census workers, but even if the census worker does not speak the same language as the respondent, they are still able to complete the census form. All census workers carry cards which show different languages. The respondent can point to the language they speak, and the census worker is able to provide the questions in their own language.”

According to Wellen­dorf, Montevideo’s self response rate stands at 71.1 percent. “It’s been hanging at that rate for awhile. I did expect it to slow down some, but Prairie Five has helped us out a lot with getting the word out about this year’s census,” she said. “We are doing good, but we really want to count as many people as we can locally.”

A complete count of all persons in the United States, as required by the Constitution every 10 years, benefits everyone.

Wellendorf said: “It is important to remember that local services and businesses benefit from a complete count of everyone residing within our community. If our community is undercounted, our service providers will be underfunded. A complete count means that these organizations and agencies have funding for the resources, staffing, and opportunities it takes to adequately serve those residing within and around the Montevideo community for the next 10 years!”

Local businesses and services and services that stand to benefit from a complete census count include: CCM Health, the Montevideo School District, the Montevideo-Chippewa County Library, Prairie Five Community Action Council, mental health providers, nonprofits, businesses, and various governmental agencies. Filling out your 2020 Census determines how much funding these various businesses and services will receive for the next decade.

Responding to the census is easy. Simply take a few minutes to fill out the form, if you haven’t already done so, and drop it in the mail. Responding can also be done by phone at 844-330-2020 or online at <my2020census.gov>

Whichever way you choose, responding only takes a few minutes, but by responding, you can take part in shaping the future of your community and country for the next 10 years.

“This is the most inclusive civic activity we can participate in,” said Wellendorf. “Every response matters, and they are essential for our community to thrive. If we don’t have a complete count, our local resources will be strained and our residents will be underserved, underfunded, and under-represented.”

There is still time to respond on your own:

• Online - at 2020Census.gov

• By phone – call 844-330-2020

• For non-English language support, go to 2020Census.gov/languages.

Your response is important in order for our community to receive our fair share of representation in government and our fair share of billions in federal funds that flow to state and local communities. These funds support services such as hospital and emergency services, schools and job training, roads and more.

The Census Bureau will provide face masks to census takers and requires that census takers wear a mask while conducting their work. They will follow CDC and local public health guidelines when they visit. Census takers must complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing protocols and other health and safety guidance before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, they will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail.

For more info and to respond online: 2020Census.gov