As deadline looms, CSRA in better shape for Census 2020 response

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The deadline for Census 2020 seems to keep extending. With the new deadline looming close, some members are creating events to get people to fill it out.

Sept. 30 was the original deadline. But now, the Census Bureau says the deadline is set at Oct. 5, even after a federal judge ruled it should be pushed back even further.

The group Bringing Lives and Communities Closer, or BLACC, is knocking on doors to get people signed up for the Census. The Census Committee says Richmond County is in great shape overall.

The census count has come a long way from a month ago.

“According to the Savannah District and U.S. Census people, Richmond County has done an outstanding job,” said Clint Bryant, co-chair of the Complete Count Committee.

A month ago, Augusta was less than 60 percent counted. Now it’s above 60 percent and potentially much higher. Columbia County is one of the best in the state at nearly 75 percent.

“Hoping that we had a 90 percent participation rate, and it looks like as of today that is the case,” Bryant said.

Here’s why: Bryant says around 39,000 households did not self-report or respond at all. So, over the past month, 200 Census workers went out to count those people.

“What we are hearing is that 100 percent of those 39,000 households have reported,” Bryant said.

This means Richmond County’s overall response rate is much higher than 60 percent. Nonprofits like the United Way of the CSRA are helping push the numbers even higher.

“We connect them directly to the Census line to complete it,” said Juanita McDaniel, 211 manager of United Way of the CSRA.

McDaniel runs the nonprofit’s 211 line. At the end of each call, her team transfers the person to the Census Bureau.

“Some of them may say, ‘Well, what is that?’ we’ll explain and connect them,” she said.

But here’s still a week to go, but now, at least more federal dollars will be coming to help the CSRA

“Our reporting in Augusta is better than the reporting in metro Atlanta,” Bryant said. “We can be proud in Richmond County of the job we’ve done.”

You can still complete the 2020 Census by Oct. 5. The Census Bureau will merge the self-response rate and the people they counted together before the final report is released.

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