Door-to-door follow-up is now underway for homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census in Tennessee, and a new September 30 deadline has increased the urgency of getting all Tennesseans counted.
While responses are still tricking in, the latest numbers show that there still is work to be done in the state.
- 62.5% of Tennessee households have responded, ranking 27th nationally and trailing the 2010 rate by 4.5 points
- 1.9 million Tennessee households self-responded, leaving no response from 1.13 million homes
- 60.2% of households in rural counties have responded, vs. 64.1% of households in urban counties
- Less than 50% of homes have responded in 13 Tennessee counties, and 55 counties trail the state’s average response rate
- Only two counties in the state (Houston and Grundy) have exceeded their 2010 response rate
News that the previously announced deadline of October 31, 2020, would be moved to September 30 came on Sunday, August 3. This means that two operations aimed at collecting household counts will end:
- Phone and Internet self-response
- Door-to-door follow-up at non-responding households by Census Bureau field workers
Last spring, the Census Bureau instituted operational adjustments related to COVID-19 that delayed the start of its major field operations until early August. At the time, a three-month operation was planned to visit of non-responsive homes by October 31. The resulting apportionment counts were to be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021. Without congressional relief to amend the statutory deadline set for December 31, 2020, this means that following up at over 1.13 million non-responsive Tennessee homes must now be completed in 50 days.
An operation to collect responses from off-campus students living around colleges was postponed and efforts to collect information about residents in these areas remains a significant challenge.
2020 Census Workers Hit the Field
Starting August 11, be on the lookout for your Tennessee neighbors hired as temporary Census Bureau workers to conduct door-to-door follow-up at non-responsive homes.
Workers can be identified by badges with their photograph and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark. They also carry black bags with a white Census Bureau logo. Responses are collected on phones and social distance protocols set by the CDC are followed. If no one is home when a census taker visits, they will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. Additional attempts to reach household may follow.