Utica, N.Y. - U.S. Census Bureau workers will begin going door to door to get people who haven't already filled out their 2020 Census to do so.
Jeff Behler, New York Regional Director of the U.S. Census Bureau who oversees the process for eight northeast states, including New York spoke to News Channel 2 Thursday afternoon.
Behler says the self-response rate in New York State falls below the national average.
As of July 19th, New York had a self-response rate of 57.7%, compared to 62.1% nationally.
Behler says Census workers will begin going door to door in parts of Upstate New York next week.
Behler says it's important to remind people just how important it is to fill out the 2020 Census since the Census determines the number of members of Congress each state has for the next ten years and determines how much federal funding each state will get over those next ten years, everything from health care, to education to transportation to Medicare and Medicaid.
Behler wants those who haven't already filled out their Census to know that Census workers are being trained differently this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, "When we swear them in and give them the device, we also give them PPE, so they are required to wear a mask regardless of what the local restrictions may be. We also provide COVID-19 training or safety training before they released to go into the field which they have to learn about social distancing, knocking on the door and backing 6 feet up right away once the door opens. Make sure they're washing their hands and making sure they're not going out and working on her not feeling well. We have seen some turnover regarding some of the people who have applied eight months ago, these door knocking jobs that we're getting ready to do, they realized that hey, due to COVID-19, they no longer want to go into the community."
Behler says if you do not feel comfortable having someone at your door, you will receive a small note left at your door stating that you can easily fill out the census form online at 2020census-dot-gov.
There are also phone numbers that will be left for you if you have any questions.