BRADLEY BEACH — With more than half the households in the borough yet to be counted in the 2020 census, a special mailing will be going out this week to encourage participation.
The Bradley Beach Census campaign has received a boost from the national Census 2020 campaign, which approved a special mailing to all households that have not yet been counted.
According to the Bradley Beach Complete Count Committee, only 45.5 percent of households in the borough had responded to the 2020 census as of July 25, which is 9 percent less than the 2010 census at the same point 10 years ago.
The committee appealed to the Washington office for the additional mailing because of the COVID-19 impact on the count in Bradley Beach.
Committee co-chair Larry Fox said the drive for participation in the census has been “very tough” during the pandemic.
To protect the health of the public during the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic, Census Bureau interviewers have had limited direct contact with the public until now. That will change in August when door-to-door canvassing begins as part of the national effort to ensure that everyone will be counted.
The committee is still trying to educate those who own second homes in Bradley Beach on the need to register those homes so that the borough’s count is as accurate as possible.
“We’re hoping that we close the gap in that nine percent,” Mr. Fox said, “When they start knocking on doors in August, I think it will be a bigger challenge.”
Mr. Fox said that the challenges include confusion that might arise as census takers visit homes occupied by summer renters. Another area of concern, he said, is the “apprehension” that the borough’s Latino community might have about sharing information with census takers.
“If I were a census person, I go to Main Street where there are a lot of Latino apartments and I start knocking on doors, I bet there are going to be a lot of people not opening the door,” he said.
Some of that apprehension, Mr. Fox believes, stems from anti-immigration sentiments on the national level. This week’s mailing is going out in Spanish as well as English.
“In 2010 we had a 79.4 response rate,” he said. “Their estimate this year for the 2020 census was a 77.4 percent response rate. And when we talked to them they just said [it’s because] they are doing it online and there are a lot of political things going on.
“They expected a two percent erosion on our response rate, just based on the current political situation.”
The mailing being sent to residents will remind them that the Census Bureau interviewers will begin knocking on doors in August and that residents can still respond online or via phone to avoid a visit by a census interviewer.
There are 2,200 households in Bradley Beach, and census takers are expecting to visit more than 1,000.
The new mailer advises: “Respond now at my2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020. By responding now there will be no need for an interviewer to be sent to your door to collect your answers.”
“Census information by law is confidential,” said Mr. Fox “The census numbers are used to determine how many representatives New Jersey sends to Congress, as well as our share of the $675 billion in federal money that is distributed annually to the state, county and our local government.”
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