April 1, 2020 marked the original self-response deadline of the 24th Census in the U.S. As mandated by the constitution, the decennial count determines how many congressional seats each state gets, and this year will help inform the distribution of $1.50 trillion in federal funding.
The Census Bureau largely depends on Americans to respond on their own and categorizes this portion of the population as “self-responding.”
While there are many factors that come into play when considering how likely a household is to respond – such as immigration status, homelessness, poverty, education levels, age and disability – the Census has put a system in place to ensure that households that do not respond receive follow-ups.
Though Census workers conduct these follow-ups via phone calls and in-person visits, households that self-respond help the Census Bureau save time and money while it continues to collect data. During the current global coronavirus pandemic, self-responses have become all the more imperative, as nonresponse follow-ups are increasingly difficult to conduct.
April 1, Census Day – the day by which households are highly encouraged to reply – has passed. However, Census self-response operations, which typically last through mid-summer, will now continue through the end of October in 2020.
In this study, SmartAsset took a closer look at the 2020 Census and current self-response rates as of May 4, 2020. We compared data from the 2010 Census to this year’s count and analyzed self-response rates for 2020 thus far. Additionally, as 2020 is the first year that households can respond online, we examined the states and cities where the highest numbers of respondents are filling out the questionnaire online.
- Coronavirus has impacted key 2020 Census dates. Similar to its impact on tax deadlines, the coronavirus pandemic has affected the originally scheduled timeline of the 2020 Census. With Census field operations largely stopping from mid-March through the beginning of May, the Census Bureau pushed back its deadline for completing the 2020 count from the end of July to the end of October.
- Four Midwestern states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska – lead the pack. In both the 2000 and 2010 Census counts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska were the four states with the highest self-response rates. In 2020 so far, they continue to lead the 50 U.S. states. More than 63% of households in each of these four states have completed the questionnaire.
- In most states and cities, more than two-thirds of households responded online. 2020 marks the first time Census has had an online response option at my2020census.gov. Many households have capitalized on that option. In all states, except Arkansas and Mississippi, more than seven in 10 households that have responded have done so online. Similarly, across the 50 largest U.S. cities, Detroit, Michigan is the only one where less than 70% of households completed the questionnaire online.
Self-Response Rates by City
The top 10 cities with the highest Census self-response rates as of May 4, 2020 are more geographically diverse than the top-ranking states, as seen in the map below. There are two Midwestern cities, six Western cities and two Southern cities at the top of the list.
For the complete report by SmartAsset, please go to https://smartasset.com/checking-account/where-people-have-responded-to-the-census-the-most-may-2020.