Census Bureau staff will follow local health official guidance and wear personal protective equipment when going door to door to collect census responses.

According to State Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, 2020 Census responses are critical to future federal funding in local communities, and Hoosiers should respond now if they have not already done so.

Census Surge Week kicked off July 13 to remind residents to complete their 2020 Census forms before door-to-door visits begin in some areas around the country as early as July 20. Smaltz said Indiana is currently tied for 10th in the nation for response rate, with nearly two-thirds of Hoosier census forms submitted.

“Census numbers help our communities plan future public improvement strategies, and assist with the distribution of emergency resources in times of need,” Smaltz said. “This data is also vital to small-business owners, as it provides a roadmap in determining the viability of marketing a potential product to the people that live in our areas. This is one of the best ways people can help our state thrive in the future.”

Smaltz encourages residents to visit 2020Census.gov to fill out the census online. Hoosiers can also call 844-330-2020 or mail back the questionnaire sent to households.

Census takers will visit non-responding households in northern Indiana from Aug. 11 to Oct. 31 to ensure every resident is counted. Smaltz said about one-third of households in northeast Indiana counties still need to respond to the 2020 Census, including Allen and DeKalb counties. However, Steuben County falls behind that average with a 47% non-response rate.

Census workers will wear masks and follow local public health guidelines when they visit households. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

Everyone is required to fill out the census every 10 years by law, and the information is kept confidential. Personal information cannot be used against respondents by any government agency or court.

According to Smaltz, billions of dollars in federal funding to support education, housing, health and public safety are on the line as this data impacts strategic planning decisions about statewide job training, locations of new businesses and public transportation projects.

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