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August 11 Census takers start door knocking in Madison area

As of July 31, an estimated 30,000 Madison households still needed to respond to the 2020 Census according to the Census Bureau. The city’s 2020 self-response rate (72.4%) was lagging the final 2010 self-response rate (77.2%) by 4.8 percentage points. In addition to tracking citywide response figures, Madison is tracking response rates within individual Census tracts by the percentage and estimated number of households that have yet to respond. Response rates are lagging in Census tracts around UW-Madison along with portions of Madison’s northeast, south, and west sides.

The City of Madison’s Complete Count Committee is asking households that have not yet responded to take 10 minutes to complete the Census at, by phone, or by mail. Census Bureau employees will start visiting households that have not yet responded on August 11.

“We ask the community to help us achieve a complete count in Madison. Every household that fills out their census form gets us one step closer to creating a complete picture of the diverse residents of our community,” said State Representative Shelia Stubbs, chair of the City’s Complete Count Committee (CCC). “Additionally, every household that is counted brings federal funding to Madison and Dane County for the next 10 years. Funding that will advance racial equity and support our community’s recovery from COVID-19. For the 2020 Census, racial equity, and our response to COVID-19, we are all in this together as a community.”

“¡Todos contamos! It is important that the Census reflect everyone that lives in our community. To do that, we need every household in every neighborhood to respond to the Census. The timeframe to respond is coming to a close,” said Brenda González, vice-chair of Madison’s CCC, a member of Wisconsin’s CCC, and UW-Madison’s Director of Community Relations.

The City’s 2020 Census Community Partners, which have strong connections to historically undercounted populations such as communities of color, have used innovative ways to reach residents despite COVID-19. Planned in-person events pivoted to events held via video conference and social media platforms. The Community Partners teamed up to host a series of “Madison Census Couch Parties” where English, Spanish and Hmong speakers highlighted the importance of the Census in a fun and interactive virtual setting.

The City’s Census outreach has also transitioned to primarily digital forms. The City continues a social media advertising campaign focused on reaching new audiences in Madison. This campaign is funded through a $10,000 National League of Cities Census Rapid Response Grant.
Several notes when completing the Census:

  • By law, all responses are confidential. There are no questions about citizenship or immigration status.
  • When filling out the Census, include everyone that lives in your household.
  • College students should complete the Census using their Madison-area address.
  • All Census Bureau employees visiting nonresponding households will present an ID badge that includes their name, photo, a Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
  • Census Bureau employees speak English and many are bilingual. If they do not speak the householder’s language, they can provide access to Census materials in 60 languages.