Courtesy of 2020census.gov
Courtesy of 2020census.gov

While the District of Columbia, at 62.6 percent, falls slightly below the 2020 U.S. Census national self-response rate – 68.9 percent, or 97.4 million households as of Sept. 19 – D.C. does have an overall enumerated response rate of 92.1 percent – just below the nation’s rate of 93.6 percent and behind both Virginia and Maryland at 94.1 and 95.2 percent, respectively.

That overall rate, which includes households enumerated both on their own through self-response and by census takers through a process known as Nonresponse Follow-up, places the District in a tie with Delaware for eighth in the country with just days remaining, for now, before the crucial count concludes.

In July, President Donald Trump unexpectedly decided to speed up and end the count by Sept. 30. However, that action sparked lawsuits filed in California by a National Urban League-led coalition seeking to extend the count beyond Trump’s deadline. Additionally, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice asked a federal judge in Maryland to extend the time for the census count.

Similarly, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation this month to allow for the count to be continued through its original deadline, Oct. 31, while Census Bureau officials have also requested more time.

“There is current and ongoing litigation but the one thing I can tell you is that what is going to hold true is that time is running out and people need to respond,” declared Michael C. Cook, the chief public information officer at the Census.

Cook expressed concern about African Americans who have historically been undercounted.

“When you look at the African-American community, children under five are typically undercounted for various reasons,” he said. “Just to be clear, if you have a child that’s born on or after Apr. 1, 2020, they don’t need to be on the form. It’s who lived in your house as of Apr. 1.”

“Also, Black males 18 to 25 are historically undercounted, so we’ve been targeting that demographic and we’re letting people know that it is safe to respond. We don’t share their information – it’s the law,” Cook said.

Census officials continue to implore Americans that it’s vital to cooperate if a census taker arrives at your home adding that time remains through month’s end to respond online, by phone or by mail.
Census results shape the future of communities, informing how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives and other critical programs and services for the next decade.

States with the highest overall enumerated rates by percentage include: Idaho, 99.7; West Virginia, 99.6; Hawaii, 98.9; Washington, 98; and Maine, 98. States currently in the bottom percentile for overall response rates include: Alabama, 85.6; Montana, 86.9; Mississippi, 87.1; South Carolina, 87.7; New Mexico, 88.6; and Arizona, 88.9.

Cook says the push continues to secure the responses of more residents across the country despite the unprecedented challenges faced by census takers.

“As a nation, the number of households who answered the doorbell is more than 90 percent. Knowing that, the count continues,” Cook said. “Looking back at the 2020 count, the self-reported rate was at 63 percent, so we know that we have to stay out in front of people and get them to respond.”

For more information about the Census, visit https://2020census.gov/en/what-is-2020-census.html.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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1 Comment

  1. I am confused. What do enumerated rates mean and how is it different from self-response rates? You state the following, which got me totally confused.
    “That overall rate, which includes households enumerated both on their own through self-response and by census takers through a process known as Nonresponse Follow-up, places the District in a tie with Delaware for eighth in the country with just days remaining, for now, before the crucial count concludes.”

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