RACINE COUNTY – With the Racine County 2020 US Census deadline less than two weeks away, 75.7 percent of Racine County households have responded online, by mail or telephone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau website as of Wednesday (Sept. 16). That’s up from 73.9 percent self-response rate in the 2010s.

At 66.4 percent, the City of Racine is now within striking distance of beating its 2020 self-response rate of 67.2 percent.

Census information, collected every ten years, is used to allocate federal funding to local areas for schools, social programs, transportation, health care, housing, and other programs. Census data also determines federal and state political representation.

“As a county, we are doing well. Many of our (census) tracts have exceeded our 2010 counts,” said M.T. Boyle, Racine County senior manager of special projects and chair of the Racine County Complete Count Committee. “We are still working hard to get the word out about the importance of the Census to our residents who have not yet responded. We are grateful to have community partners, from Racine County, the City of Racine, the YMCA, and 9 to 5, that continue to push our efforts in those hard-to-count tracts that cluster around the center of the City of Racine.”

Door-to-door push for Racine County 2020 US Census

The four census tracts with the lowest self-response rates in the county are located within the City of Racine. The 2020 US Census website showed the response rates of Census Tract 2 at 57 percent, Census Tract 4 at 46.7 percent, Census Tract 5 at 44.2 percent, and Census Tract 29 at 49.7 percent. As of this week, the response rates in all four tracts are trailing the 2010 self-response rates.

The Census Bureau supplements the self-response with personnel (called enumerators) who go door-to-door. 

Karen A. Davis, the media specialist in the Census Bureau’s Chicago Region, said that enumerators would continue to work through the month’s end.

“Local Census offices are constantly analyzing their workload. When the percentage of households who have not responded reaches a certain threshold, any remaining households who have not responded are assigned to experienced individual census takers, who continue to attempt to contact that household as we strive for a complete count,” she said.

The Census Bureau’s enumerators do make a difference. Wisconsin, for example, trails only the state of Washington in overall response at 97.3 percent. Of that total, 71.7 percent came from residents self-responding (online, by mail or by telephone) and 25.6 percent via enumerator follow up.

Response rates vary

The Village of Elmwood Park, at 89.9 percent, had the county’s highest self-response rate. It was followed by the Village of North Bay at 84.7 percent, the Village of Caledonia at 84.4 percent, the Village of Yorkville at 84.2 percent, and the Town of Norway at 84.1 percent.

Of Racine County’s other larger municipalities, the Village of Mount Pleasant had an 81.7 percent self-response rate, the City of Burlington had 75.7 percent, the Village of Sturtevant had 81.1 percent, the Village of Waterford had 81.2 percent, and the Village of Union Grove had 81.9 percent.

Approaching the final stretch, the Racine County Complete Count Committee will continue its information push, said Boyle. Its efforts have included locally branded fliers and posters, virtual rallies, social media posts, print, and digital advertising and car caravans (accompanied by elected officials) that have traveled through some Racine City Council districts. The committee is also holding a contest that offers a $50 grocery gift card to any resident who responds to the Census or refers to friends and family to complete the Census. Visit: http://www.racinecountycounts.org

Getting counted

The Racine County 2020 US Census can still be completed online, by phone, or by mail this month. To complete the Census online, visit www.my2020census.gov By telephone, call 844-330-2020 (English), or 844-468-2020 (Spanish). By mail, complete the paper Census form mailed to your address this spring and return by Wednesday, Sept. 30.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...