CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Workers with the U.S. Census will begin going door-to-door in parts of West Virginia Thursday as part of the next phase to try and increase response numbers in the Mountain State.
West Virginia is one of a handful of states chosen by the U.S. Census for earlier than originally scheduled ‘non-response follow-up.’
“It is the traditional where a Census person comes to your door,” U.S. Census Media Specialist Dreama Pritt told members of the West Virginia Complete Count Commission Tuesday. “We only visit the households that have not responded either on paper, online or over the phone.”
West Virginia is currently 49th in Census response rate at 53.5 percent. McDowell County has the lowest response rate at 22.9 percent with Jefferson County the highest with 68.4 percent response.
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Pritt said the door-to-door visits will become more widespread in the weeks ahead.
“It’s going to be sort of like a rolling soft launch,” she said. “Other areas will start later in July and it will be nationwide Aug. 11. All follow-up will be concluded by Oct. 31.”
Complete Count Commission member Andy Malinoski, of the state Department of Commerce, told fellow members the state’s efforts are working but there’s more that needs to be done.
“Our targeting seems to be making a difference but it it very, very important I think that all of us remain diligent in promoting,” he said.
Malinoski said Wood, Nicholas, Berkeley, Lewis, Raleigh, Boone, Jefferson and Pleasants counties have exceeded their 2010 Census response rate. He said 21 other counties including Roane, Jackson, Marion, Pocahontas, Mercer, Lincoln, Marshall, Mineral, Ohio, Preston, Tucker, Wayne, Kanawha, Taylor, Gilmer. Morgan, Clay, Mason, Upshur and Hancock are within six percent of their 2010 response rates.
West Virginia remains ahead of the national average response rate since May 1.
Other states targeted for non-response visits include Idaho, Maine and parts of southeastern Louisiana, northern Missouri and northwestern Oklahoma.