CONWAY — Carroll County residents' response to the census had been lagging but them they redeemed themselves in the last few days and now, Carroll County is a co-winner of the U.S. Census' Push Week competition.
The census is important for several reasons. It helps determine how $675 billion, for things like roads and schools, is distributed to the states based on population and demographics, helps the states with legislative districting and distributing seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This year will be the first year that people may respond to the census online or by phone.
Among New Hampshire counties, Carroll and Cheshire counties tied for the top spot by boosting their rates 0.6 percentage points from July 27 to Aug. 2.
The counties got help during Push Week from several Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) events, during which residents were able to get their census questions answered and complete their questionnaires on the spot.
Several other New Hampshire counties were close behind. The state’s overall response rate increased 0.4 percentage points during the week.
"PUSH Week winners have demonstrated highly organized efforts to encourage and inspire self-response to the 2020 census," stated a press release from the U.S. Census. "As a result, those involved can take personal pride in knowing they are shaping the future of their respective communities. In the coming weeks, we will provide all champions with a creative digital reward to commemorate their incredible accomplishments."
According to a press release from the U.S. Census dated July 22, Carroll County had the lowest response rate New Hampshire’s 10 counties with a response rate of 35 percent. Meanwhile, Hillsborough County has a response rate of 70.2 percent.
“Winners will be determined by the response rate increase over the entire week,” said the U.S. Census. “That means Carroll County, at just 35.0 percent, has a chance to win the week if its communities provide a strong push!”
Carroll County's response rate as of July 24 was 35.2 percent by the close of Push Week it had risen to 35.8 percent. Cheshire County also increased by the same percentage. It's response rate was 62.1 percent and rose to 62.7 percent.
In second place were Hillsborough, Merrimack and Rockingham counties which each had .5 percent improvements. All of those counties had response percentages in the high 60s or low 70s.
In third place were Coos, Belknap, Grafton, Strafford and Sullivan Counties. Each had a percentage increase of .4 percent. They had response percentage rates ranging from the high 40s to the mid 60s. Coos for example had its response rate increase from 48 percent to 48.4 percent.
During his town manager’s report of July 21, Tom Holmes told selectmen about the poor response rate from the town of Conway.
“The statewide average is 60 and in Conway 30-something percent. The census is having a real hard time getting compliance with the Conway area residents,” said Holmes. “They have asked me if they can set up in town hall parking lot and First Bridge and Conway Lake. And I’m like, ‘You’re not gonna see a lot of locals at First Bridge and Conway Lake this time of year. I suggest you go to the transfer station where virtually everybody goes in and out, it’s going to be a local and more bang for your buck.’”
Holmes asked the selectmen for permission to have census workers set up a table and tent by the exit of the transfer station. Census takers were at the Conway Transfer Station on Aug. 1 and 2. They were also scheduled to appear in Tamworth Farmer's Market and Wolfeboro Public Library.
Last week, the U.S. census Bureau began emailing households in neighborhoods where response rates to the 2020 census are less than 50 percent. Some emails may be sent to some households that may have already responded. Email messages will come from email@example.com and will comply with federal regulations by including opt-out messaging. Contact information will not be shared and is only used to remind you about responding to the 2020 census.
Residents may still self-respond to the 2020 census at any point prior to the Oct. 31 deadline.
For more information go to 2020census.gov or call (844) 330-2020.