The 2020 U.S. Census will go out to a nation that’s more technologically wired than ever.
Census Bureau officials expect the nation’s official population count to be the first of its kind. A solid majority of respondents will do so online.
“The fact we’ve moved beyond paper only makes us more relevant to the American people,” said Timothy Olson, the associate director of field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Olson was recently in McAllen to participate in a Census 2020 Forum. Community leaders in attendance were Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville and Sergio Cardenas, the chief executive officer of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. Futuro RGV sponsored the event.
A challenge in the Valley
The four-county Valley presents challenges in achieving an accurate population count. This is due to its population spread out over a wide region and Internet accessibility limited in rural areas.
Add in the fact that the Valley is also a border region with many immigrants. The issue of the confidentiality of the Census becomes even more prominent. Olson stressed the Census information is only to form statistical data. There will be no sharing of information with federal law enforcement.
“There are many people throughout the country who are concerned about the Census in the current (political) atmosphere,” Olson said in reference to controversies about the immigration issue. “We cannot and will not share that information with another governmental entity, period.”
Flores said the Diocese and other religious organizations are working to reach and thus inform residents living in rural areas.
“We are concerned about areas and populations outside of the larger cities,” the bishop said. “We’re making that effort to explain why it’s important to be counted in all of our communities.”
The Census Bureau plans to hire about 7,000 local workers by March 2020. They will then fan out into the region and get the most accurate count possible.
“Let’s continue to get the word out that the Census is easy, important and safe,” Olson told city and county leaders at the conference.