Arlington government officials say the county’s census-response rate has passed 60 percent, and local efforts will now be made to reach out to low-response hotspots across the community.
“We need people to do their part,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said, urging the community to “make sure that we . . . get as close as we can to 100 percent.”
Well, that’s not really going to happen, but local residents can try to best the 2010 response rate of 74 percent, slightly below the overall Virginia average that year.
County officials had planned a number of in-person outreach events in the days leading up to and on census day (April 1), but nearly all were canceled as the COVID-19 public-health situation deteriorated. County leaders have compensated by promoting census participation in online formats and social media.
The federal government, which has conducted a census every 10 years since 1790, has pushed back the response date nationally several months to Oct. 31. After that, census personnel will begin to fan out across the nation to count those who did not respond.
The 2010 census recorded more than 207,000 individuals living in Arlington, a figure that is expected to morph into about 240,000 in the 2020 count. County-government officials estimate that each person not counted in the census costs the local government about $2,000 in federal funding.