By Dan Spalding
Editor’s note: Some of the numbers below have been corrected since the original posting.
WARSAW – Warsaw is seeing a better response rate than the rest of the nation when it comes to participation in the ongoing 2020 US Census count.
Despite the pandemic, a representative from the Chicago District for the US Census Bureau expressed satisfaction with the response rate nationally and locally.
The Census Bureau reports that they’ve seen a response rate nationally of 59.6 percent. Indiana has seen a 64.6 percent response rate.
In Warsaw, the response rate is 62.9 percent
“That’s really fantastic that your community is above the national average,” said Ellisa Johnson, deputy regional director of the Chicago Regional Census Bureau.
“I know we’re trending pretty well especially in light of the challenges we’ve had,” Johnson said.
Johnson participated via phone in the weekly coronavirus news conference held at Warsaw City Hall Wednesday, May 20.
The deadline to return Census forms has been extended from late July to Oct. 31 as a result of the pandemic.
The Census now offers three ways for respondents to fill out forms. In addition to the traditional paper form, there is also the choice of using a phone number – (844) 330-2020 – or online at 2020census.gov.
Another round of Census form packets is being distributed locally this week and an effort is being made to provide ample forms to rural areas that don’t have strong broadband service, Johnson said.
Mayor Joe Thallemer, who invited Johnson to participate in the teleconference and has been urging residents to fill out their forms, lobbied for further participation.
The Census figures are used to reshape Congressional districts and determines the share of federal money allocated to local jurisdictions. Officials worry that a low and inaccurate Census report will result in less federal money being available to the city and county.
“We’re thankful that Indiana and our Warsaw community are doing their part; however, we want a complete count and have a little ways to go. Extending the deadline certainly will help,” Thallemer said.