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Census Bureau to start non-response followup

On July 30, North Dakota 2020 Census officials will begin following up with residents of the state who have not completed their Census form.

To complete their Census response, residents can still fill out and mail the paper questionnaire they received in the mail, visit the 2020census.gov website or call 844-330-2020.

When completing your form, make sure to count everyone who was living in your household as of April 1, 2020, including any roommates, friends or family members (even infants) who are living there most of the time.

Census takers will be required to wear masks when visiting households and will follow local public health guidelines as well as those set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They will be trained in these guidelines as well as social distancing protocols.

If no one is home when the Census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice about how to respond online, by mail or by phone.

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All Census takers speak English, and while many are bilingual, if the census taker does not speak the language of the resident they visit, that resident can request a visit from a census taker who does. Census takers will have materials on hand to help them identify the language the resident(s) speak(s).

All Census takers have a valid government identification badge that includes their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. Census workers may also carry equipment or bags with the Census Bureau logo.

If a resident is concerned that they have been approached by someone who is posing as a Census worker, they may verify the person's identity by contacting their regional census center and asking to speak with a Census Bureau representative. The regional center for North Dakota is the Dallas Regional Census Center. It can be reached at 972-510-1800.

North Dakota's 61.7% response rate means that approximately 157,000 households have not responded and will need to be visited by a Census worker, according to Mark Dickerson, media specialist in North Dakota with the Dallas Regional Census Center Field Division.

The United States Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The goal is to count everyone who lives in the United States and its five territories.

People who spend the majority of their time in North Dakota should be counted in North Dakota.

"Anytime you’re spending more than 51% of your time in a given area, that’s where they should be counted," Iverson said. "… Look at the students at Dickinson State who may be legal residents of Montana but they’re attending school at Dickinson State, so that’s where they’re spending the majority of their time. By the census rules for residency, you’re counted where you spend the most of your time, so they should be counted in Dickinson."

This also applies to military service members at the Grand Forks in Minot Air Force bases and people in prison.

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The population count in the census determines the amount of federal dollars that are sent to North Dakota.

According to a study by The George Washington Institute of Public Policy, "In fiscal year 2015, $1.45 billion in federal funds were obligated in North Dakota based upon resident counts from Census 2010 and subsequent annual population estimates. This equates to $1,910 in federal funds distributed annually for each North Dakota resident."

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Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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