Only 59.1% of Tulsa households have responded to the once-a-decade head count that determines the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding, and the Tulsa Regional Complete Count Committee hopes to get that percentage to 60 by the end of July, according to a news release.
Tulsa fire trucks led the caravan through neighborhoods where self-response rates are lower than average, like Kendall-Whittier, Cherokee Heights and Independence Heights, and Gathering Place representatives rode along to supply the party.
“It was definitely a lot of fun,” said Kyle Ofori, the city’s director of community partnerships. “Anything we can do at this point will help us for the next 10 years.”
From health care to affordable housing and roads, the census affects it all; Even political representation in the nation’s capital, Ofori said.
And while it’s always a struggle to get responses from millions of people across the United States, this year came with a novel roadblock.
The census was just getting underway when the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into quarantined chaos, limiting the Census Bureau’s public messaging methods and pushing back deadlines.
Ofori said a 100% self-response is “obviously” the goal, but given the pandemic, it’s been hard.
On top of that, many residents don’t understand how crucial a role their response to the census could play in their community for the next decade, and still others worry it’s an overreach of the government, Ofori said.
“First of all, it’s constitutionally required,” Ofori said. “And secondly, these are some of the least intrusive questions you could be asked.
“Some people put more information on their Facebook.”
It takes minutes to respond to the census online at 2020census.gov, and the Census Bureau keeps responses confidential, according to its website.
Persons may also respond to the census by calling 1-844-330-2020 or mailing back the forms sent to them.
To view a list of the survey’s questions, visit 2020census.gov/en/about-questions.html.
The Census Bureau’s Non-Response Follow Up efforts begin on Aug. 11, and the final deadline to respond to the Census is Oct. 31.
Gallery: Parade held to boost 2020 Census response rate