WINSLOW TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — U.S. Census Bureau workers are hitting the pavement and the phones to encourage participation as the Sept. 30 deadline quickly approaches. Currently, New Jersey has a response rate of 68%, which is better than its three previous census counts, but still well below the nationwide rate of 89%.
Census takers will be conducting door knocks, clearly identifying themselves with a government ID or calling from phone numbers that will show up as the U.S. Census Bureau on caller ID.
“These are people that we’ve actually hired from your community that want an accurate and complete count,” said Michael Cook, with the U.S Census Bureau.
Cook added that while workers will ask you demographic questions about yourself and your household, they will never ask for sensitive information.
“You won’t have a census taker that’ll come to your home and ask you for your social security number, they won’t ask you for your bank account number,” he said.
Community organizations are also joining in on the final push. Along with Winslow Township, the Sicklerville-based nonprofit Dreams of Tomorrow is organizing a socially-distanced movie night this Friday, Sept. 18, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the parking lot of the Winslow Center to provide some family-friendly entertainment, while helping people who have not yet filled out their census questionnaire.
“We’re going to have agents here to show them how fast and quick and easy and harmless it is to do it, to have something so beneficial for them in the future,” said Dreams Of Tomorrow Founder and CEO Bobby Harris.
Each person counted translates to roughly $1,800 every year for the community where they live, which Winslow Township Ward 3 Committeeman Raymond Watkins says improves the quality of life for everyone.
“It’s very important for people to stand up and be counted,” Watkins said. “I think something like this will help get more people out, and we get more people counted that means we will get more funding.”
Over in Philadelphia, participation is at a dismal 54%. Overall, Pennsylvania’s response rate surpasses the national rate, at 91%.
For more information on the census, click here.