CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The final day for self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census is Thursday.
As of Thursday’s response rates by the U.S. Census, West Virginia is among the 48 states to finish with a 99.9% total enumeration rate and 49th in the self-response rate at 56.1%.
Ron Brown, Partnership Coordinator at the U.S. Census Bureau who oversees the response in Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, said the Mountain State exceeded it expectations. According to him, state officials had a target goal in self-enumeration of 84% which would have exceeded 2010.
West Virginia was lagging behind most states in total enumeration for most of the summer during the self-response only portion of the Census. Brown said the state turned it around during the non-response follow-ups when Census workers began knocking on doors and calling homes.
“Through May and June, West Virginia was one of the states that were not doing well. They were at the bottom of the list in terms of the self-response rate,” Brown said to MetroNews.
“About a month ago, all the work that was done by U.S. Senators, the governor and his staff, and congressional members, West Virginia began leading the county in the enumeration count.”
Brown said Census officials rolled out their plan for 2020 well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit but it turned out to work smoothly.
“Whether it was online or using their personal computers, smartphones or tablets, calling our toll free numbers or actually receiving hard copy in the mail and getting it back to us, it has never been done like that before in the history of the US Census,” he said.
Brown admitted that West Virginia, like other states in the union, had trouble during the self-response period because of connectivity.
“We also recognized that not everyone had a smartphone or cell phone and had connectivity to fill out the Census as with the internet or their cell phone,” he said.
Discussions are ongoing on when the delivery day of the final 2020 U.S. Census numbers will be, according to Brown.
Jefferson, Berkeley and Wood were the top counties in the state in response rate. Clearview, North Hills and Bridgeport were the top towns in response.