Why a census worker might be knocking on your door
U.S. Census Bureau workers have begun going door-to-door in the Chicago area to count people who didn't respond to earlier communication attempts.
The work is part of the census bureau's constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade mission to count everyone living in the country.
Field data collection is scheduled to conclude by Sept. 30.
The data will be used to draw county, state and federal legislative districts, among other purposes. It's based on people living in households as of April 1.
All census takers will have government ID badges with their photographs, U.S. Department of Commerce watermarks, and expiration dates. Census workers may also carry census bureau bags and other equipment with the bureau's logo.
To confirm a census taker's identity, you can call the regional census center in Chicago at (312) 579-1500.
If no one is home when a census worker visits, the employee will leave a notice with information about responding online at 2020census.gov or by phone at (844) 330-2020. Responses via U.S. mail also will be accepted.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, census takers are required to wear masks while working. Census takers also must complete virtual training on social distancing protocols and other health issues, a bureau news release said.
"The health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority at this time," said Marilyn A. Sanders, the bureau's regional director for the Chicago area.
The bureau needs 500,000 temporary census takers for in-person interviews, said Tim Olson, associate director of field operations. The agency has offered positions to more than 900,000 people to cover attrition, Olson said.
"We know from experience that not everyone who has been hired will show up for training or complete their training and report to the field," Olson said.
As of this week, more than 63% of U.S. households had responded to the census, the bureau reported. That figure is nearly 68% for Illinois.
The response rate is 63% in Cook County, more than 77% in DuPage County, about 74% in Kane County, about 73% in Lake County and more than 79% in McHenry County.