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U.S. Census Bureau urges self-response to 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is ongoing. Starting mid-August, Census takers will begin to interview households that have not yet responded to the census.

Derek Dorazio, Census Bureau partnership specialist for the 2020 Census for the Albemarle region, said the bureau is making “one last push” to urge citizens to self-respond so census takers “don’t have to knock on doors.” Due to COVID-19, Dorazio said the more people that can self-respond from their homes, the better.

Dorazio’s coverage area spans across ten counties and includes Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell. He shared current response rate data for each of these counties as of June 30, 2020.

For Currituck County, an estimated 15,500 households and 10,000 occupied households have responded so far. With an estimate total population of around 25,000, Currituck has a 46.6% self-response rate, putting them at -12% difference in response rate from 2010.

Dare County has an estimated 35,000 households with about 15,000 of those occupied. With around 19,000 vacant homes, Dare has an estimated 44.7% occupied household rate.

Dorothy Hester, public information officer for Dare, has worked with the Census Bureau to account for the vacation homes that are scattered throughout the beach. “The self-response rates do not include the vacation houses,” said Hester. “We know in Dare that we have a lot of homes that are primarily vacation rentals, so when they calculate the self-response rate based on the total number of units without any type of adjustment, they are presumed not to be permanent residents.”

Due to the skewed data that results from the inclusion of vacation homes, Dare County has set up a self-response rate calculation that accounts for the vacant housing units. The Census numbers reflect a 33.7% response rate for Dare, whereas Dare County’s actual self-response rate is 77.4% as of July 7.

In Hyde County, an estimated 1,700 total occupied homes out of about 3,000 households bring their estimated occupied household percentage to around 55%. As of June 30, Hyde has a 37.6% response rate, a -11% difference from 2010.

As for Tyrrell County, about 1,600 homes out of about 2,200 are occupied. The occupied household estimate is about 73%. The self-response rate in Tyrrell as of June 30 is about 43%, a -8% difference from 2010.

Citizens still have time to respond.

The Census will end on October 31; this revised schedule was extended by three months as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Responses can be submitted online by visiting www.2020census.gov. Households can also respond by phone by calling 844-330-2020 or by mailing back the paper questionnaire they received.

Staff writer Danielle Puleo contributed to this report.

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