Attention residents of Providence County: You need to respond to the U.S. Census Test, the notice of which is in that envelope sitting in that pile on the kitchen table underneath that recipe you want to try and the permission slip for the field trip. (Or just go straight to the census website.)
One unfortunate outcome of the 2020 census could be that our state will lose of one of its two House seats, so we really need everybody to participate. Obviously the Republican party has other ideas, none having to do with actually making America great again. In addition to adding the controversial citizenship question — the Constitution requires a count of “persons” not “citizens” — Congressional Republicans are refusing to fund the preparations and testing needed for its proper implementation in 2020.
This is of particular interest here in Providence because we have been selected by the Census Bureau for a test run, make that the test run, of certain updated data collecting systems (in the works for eight years, not known to be nefarious). There were supposed to be four test areas across the country, but three were scrapped due to lack of funding.
If you haven’t heard anything about this, it is because the publicity campaign to educate the public had to be scrapped due to . . . lack of funding. It almost seems like the Republicans don’t want a fair and accurate count.
The Census Bureau has been hand-delivering questionnaires to about 1,800 Providence County households, while more than 260,000 households in Providence have already received mailed requests to respond to the census test.
The test questions only take a few minutes, and you have to do this eventually because the agency will be showing up at your door, “All households that do not respond to the census test will be visited by census takers starting May 9 through July 31.” The bureau director reported that by the middle of April nearly a third of all households had completed census forms.
For the latest update, and a cute photo of Rep. David Cicilline, see today’s Sunday New York Times, “Census Officials Say Rhode Island Rehearsal Is Going Well. Not Everyone Agrees.”
Rhode Island’s governor and some city officials complained at a news conference this month that the “gross incompetence” of the Providence County trial bodes a serious population undercount in 2020, costing the state federal dollars and perhaps one of its two House seats.
To facilitate the response,
City leaders, schools and civic groups are trying to calm fears and ease the way toward filling out the form. Laptops linked to the census form website have been placed in nine Providence libraries and 30 post offices countywide, and the Census Bureau is training 1,000 local workers to help administer the census and persuade those who do not respond to fill out their forms.
Can’t find your mailing? Here is the link to the Census Test. Always check to make sure that the url is a “.gov” and that it is a secure “https” site. And then double-check.