Thursday is the last day to fill out the census following court battle 

By: - October 15, 2020 1:58 pm

U.S. census photo

Thursday is the last day to fill out your census survey.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 2020 census count could be cut short, the U.S. Census Bureau, headed by President Trump’s Department of Commerce, is putting a stop on enumeration by the end of day Thursday, about two weeks short of the original plan.  

To fill out the census, start here.

This has caused mass confusion and concerns about an undercount in the census, which is used to draw congressional and legislative districts and determine federal funding for a variety of programs.

Kerry Ebersole Singh, the director of the Michigan 2020 statewide census campaign, said she is proud of what the state was able to accomplish in a shorter time frame. 

“I really, truly believe that the coalition that has stepped forward to raise the awareness around this census has accomplished something pretty remarkable because of all the challenges, coming in and around the census,” she said. “We’re cautiously optimistic, but would have liked to see another two weeks.”

Michigan ranked seventh in the country, tied with Illinois, for households that self-responded to the 2020 census, about 71.7%.

This is the highest Michigan has ranked since at least 1990. In 2010, the last time the Census was taken, Michigan ranked 17th. Michigan also ranked 3rd for largest real gain in response rate — with 3.5% more households self- responding in 2020 than in 2010, which was 67.7% self-response rate. 

The city of Detroit had the lowest response rate, 50.8%, of all large cities in the country with populations greater than 500,000. The next lowest is Philadelphia with a 56.5% self-response rate.

But overall, the state saw improvements from 2010. 

Almost 75% of all 83 Michigan counties self-responded at a higher rate than the 2010 census.

Huntington Woods, a suburb northwest of Detroit, had the third highest self-response rate in the country, 93.6% self-response, and ranked first of all cities with a population of at least 500 people.

The “Michigan Be Counted” campaign, a collaboration between the state of Michigan, U.S. Census Bureau and the Michigan Nonprofit Association, set out with a big goal of 82% participation for the 2020 census, which means about 71.7% of Michiganders would have had to self-respond in order to hit that goal. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hurt efforts early on this year.

“We fell a bit short from our goal, but if you look at what this census had, the challenges that were a part of this census, it’s pretty extraordinary,” Ebersole Singh said. “A pandemic, the changing timelines coming from both the federal government and then an action within federal courts that impacted the a changing timeline, and needless to say that creates confusion.”

The U.S. Census Bureau said that as of Wednesday, 99.9% of housing units in the country have been accounted for in the 2020 census.

Ebersole Singh said she has some concerns about that number. 

“Here we are now, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of households that need to be enumerated at the door in an eight-week time period. Were they able to do all the attempts they needed to to account for everyone living in each of those households? I think it’s just a big question. It’s a big question,” she said. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.