Still time to complete U.S. Census survey
Marshall County, Marshalltown above national rates
One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down is Marshall County’s participation in the 2020 Census.
The co-coordinator of the Complete Count Committee in Marshall County committee is Lisa Gassman, who is also the assistant to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.
“We have a high rate of people who have responded,” Gassman said. “We — Marshall County — are already at 64.3 percent and we are just two months from when we started. This is a lot higher than we were 10 years ago. The national average is 59.7 percent and we are above that which is awesome. It is something to feel good about.”
Marshalltown’s rate is 63.2 percent and Iowa’s response rate is at 66.8 percent, also above the national rate.
“I feel really good about it,” Gassman said. “I am thrilled so many people are responding.”
John Cook, the senior partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau Chicago and Iowa region, said Iowa residents are doing really well with self-responding.
“My message is, ‘Doing great. Please keep it up,'” Cook said.
He said Iowa is five-tenths of a percentage point behind Wisconsin, which is at 67.3 percent in terms of rate of response and three or four points behind Minnesota, which is first in the nation with 69.9 percent.
“If you would like to draw on some Big 10 rivalries here, we really would like to beat Minnesota and Wisconsin and get up to number one,” Cook said. “Overall, Iowa is doing a really good job.”
The 2020 Census Bureau has been collecting response data for two months and has changed the timeframe. People can still respond through the internet, phone or mail through Oct. 31.
“That’s a big change because we were going to cut it off July 31,” Cook said.
The website, 2020census.gov, is providing the rates of responses within geographical areas — states, counties, towns and Census tracts.
Marshalltown has six Census tracts. Census tract 9501 in Marshalltown has the highest rate — 70.1 percent — and is located in the northern section of town and extends further north.
The Marshalltown Census tract with the lowest rate is 9505 at 46.8 percent. That tract covers north of Main Street to beyond Woodland Street and from North Center Street to west of 18th Avenue.
The website is also where people can take the quick survey if they choose to do so online. Cook said he is hoping people do not procrastinate and that they self-respond.
Two months ago, field operations for the Census were suspended, but now the bureau is hiring again.
Gassman said they are starting to push recruiting again and jobs because with the pandemic, some people have dropped out of the pool. Chosen applicants will be contacted within a couple weeks.
“We are still looking for Census workers because the pandemic pushed us back,” Gassman said. “People who were originally going to help us cannot now because of their job situations.”
Cook said it is important to complete the count, as well as keeping workers and the public safe.
Shari Coughenour, is the other co-coordinator of the county committee and said now is the time for people to respond.
“We were hoping for a 100 percent response rate by April 1,” she said. “It is so important to our community that we get an accurate count.”
Coughenour said the Census is easy to do and has less than 12 questions.
“Let’s get to 100 percent,” Coughenour said. “This benefits the community in so many ways that we do not think about, such as roads and housing development. This is a sure-fire way to get money.”
Cook agreed with the impact Census data can have on a community — especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The biggest thing as we contemplate the future and the economic recovery of COVID-19, Census data is going to play a really big part in that,” Cook said. “Where federal dollars go in the form of grants and in the form of aid is going to be largely directed by your Census data so we really want to make sure we get an accurate snapshot of the entire county — every single person so the federal government gets you the aid that you need to get the county back on its feet economically.”
MARSHALL COUNTY CENSUS RATES
Town Percentage rate 2010 Percentage rate
Marshalltown 63.2 72.8
Albion 64.2 72.8
Clemons 63.6 67.3
Ferguson 62.1 66.1
Gilman 65.7 64.9
Haverhill 65.2 77.4
Laurel 64.2 81
Le Grand 68.8 78.8
Liscomb 59.5 61.5
Melbourne 59.8 73.7
Rhodes 53.6 74
St. Anthony 43.5 53.1
State Center 63.4 70.3