JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The census bureau reopened its offices throughout the Volunteer State, which means the state has resumed hiring thousands of East Tennesseans to serve as census takers following up with households that do not respond to it on their own.
The three ways the public can respond to the census is through phone, mail or for the first time in the history of the census, through the internet. Tennessee Census Media Specialist June Iljana knows responding to the census through the website has helped the cause.
“The census bureau has seen great success with people responding to the census on their own and were very fortunate we were well prepared for this situation happening and this is the first census where people can respond online, on their own, at home,” Iljana said.
The web might be helping some parts of the state, but it could be possibly hurting some areas as well.
“Right now, the rural areas are lagging a little bit and a lot of that is just due to the Covid-19 situation and not being able to get census takers into the field,” Iljana said. “Those are often due to the fact that they don’t have a standard US mailing address, so we will deliver forms to those homes as soon as a we have more people out in the field to do that work.”
Iljana also wanted to let the public know that it’s not too late for people submit their census information. They’ve only been able to count about 60 percent of the households in Tennessee and the 40 percent that haven’t given their information could be hurting themselves.
“The census is one of the foundations for our democracy, it is used to determine how many seats in the House of Representatives each state has,” Iljana said. “Census data is used to redistribute our federal tax dollars back to our communities to fund things like roads and education and healthcare, disaster and crisis response.”