• October 17th, 2021
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Bureau Must Adapt to Current Reality to Avoid a Failed Census


Arturo Vargas

 

Bureau must adapt to current reality to avoid a failed census

While the U.S. Census Bureau is touting surpassing its 60.5 percent national response rate, reaching 61.9 percent by July 8, it is important to highlight this progress occurred months after its original goal date. And despite this increase, heavily Latino, Black, and Native American regions of the country are still experiencing significantly lower self-response rates as revealed in our analysis on Latino self-response rates.
Additionally, the Census Bureau needs to put forward a robust paid advertising campaign to reach households that have not responded. As the Bureau resumes operations and prepares for Nonresponse Follow up (NRFU) door-to-door knocks, its accompanying advertising campaign must reflect the current, COVID-19 reality, not a pre-pandemic one.

The Census Bureau needs to put forward a robust paid advertising campaign to reach households that have not responded. As the Bureau resumes operations and prepares for Nonresponse Follow up (NRFU) door-to-door knocks, its accompanying advertising campaign must reflect the current, COVID-19 reality, not a pre-pandemic one.

And given the enumeration extension to October 31, 2020, our research indicating Latinos prefer a paper questionnaire, and the most recent responses showing more households are responding by paper, the Bureau must make another paper form available before October 31. This move would be much less expensive than deploying census workers to make personal visits to non-responding households.
And with the Bureau being admittedly past the point where they can deliver apportionment and redistricting data on the regular timeline, Congress needs to act on extending deadlines while holding the Bureau accountable moving forward.
Amid these challenges, we also stand alongside the Census Bureau in our deep concern over the Administration’s last-minute political appointment of two newly-created senior policy roles that have intruded on the Bureau’s work.  In light of these developments, Congress must also act on scrutinizing these actions and work to ensure the Bureau’s nonpolitical integrity remains untarnished.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund remains steadfast in our partnerships with the Census Bureau, allies, and policymakers as we look toward a full and accurate count of Latino residents, despite the various difficulties our country is facing.

 

Arturo Vargas is the CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

 

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