Census workers hit the streets again after pause due to COVID-19

  • Response rates for the U.S. census in New Hampshire towns vary widely. Cities such as Concord are blank on this map. Ceneus BureauCourtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/4/2020 11:38:44 AM

The Census Bureau will be handing out questionnaires for the once-every-10-years event this week as it makes up for time lost due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The Census Bureau began hand-delivering census materials on March 15, but suspended all fieldwork for this operation on March 18 due to COVID-19. This week, census workers will begin to drop off questionnaires at households that did not get a mailed questionnaire.

There are about 65,000 such households in the state, roughly 10% of all households, usually in rural areas with seasonal housing or PO boxes. They are most common in the northern counties of Grafton, Carrol, and Coos.

Temporary field staff will update addresses with GPS coordinates when leaving packets, the bureau said. They will not knock on doors or initiate face-to-face contact.

As of this week, according to the Census Breua database, 64.7% of Merrimack County households have returned the questionnaire, and 67.7% of households in the city of Concord have done so. Locally, Bow has among the highest rates in the state: 80.9%.

The questionnaire is much shorter than in past years, asking only basic information about who was living in the home on April 1. Information sought in some past census, such as type of housing, income and employment, are now gathered continuously by the American Community Survey.

Data from the census is used to parcel out federal spending and to figure out representation in Congress.

For more information, check 2020census.gov.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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