The United States Census Bureau continues pushing the 2020 Census, and Lawrence County’s self-response rate showed 60.1 percent participation, up from 52 percent about a month ago, according to census data. 

The Census Bureau reported a national response rate of 58.6 percent as of Sunday, with Alabama keeping up the pace at 56.7 percent. 

Lawrence County community leaders held a phone conference after press-time on Wednesday to discuss plans to address areas of lower response rates across the county. Those plans are likely to be announced by next week. 

As of Sunday, Town Creek led the county with its self-response rate at 64 percent. Moulton fell close behind reporting 63.9 percent, Hillsboro jumped to 55.7 percent, Courtland reported 48.1 percent, and North Courtland reported a self-response rate of 42.6 percent. 

According to a revised 2020 Census schedule, the self-response phase, which was originally planned to end on July 31, is being extended until Oct. 31, and the Census Bureau extended or delayed some of its field operations in response to COVID-19. 

Earlier in the year, the bureau took applications for NRFU Census employees who would conduct surveys door-to-door at households that had not responded starting May 13.

“In-person activities, including all interaction with the public, enumeration, office work and processing activities, will incorporate the most current guidance to promote the health and safety of staff and the public,” a Census Bureau report states. “This will include recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing practices.”

According to a revised schedule, the bureau plans to conduct in-person census surveys beginning August 11.

Also according to the updated schedule, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and determines the allocation of federal funds to each state, by April 30, 2021.

The United States Census is conducted every ten years nationwide, and residents are required by law to participate.

According to the Census Bureau, the distribution of $13 billion in federal funds, grants, and support to the state’s counties and communities are based on the census data, and these funds are spent on schools, healthcare, hospitals, roads and other vital programs across Alabama.

Individual responses collected in the census are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identifies a census participant or any person listed in their home.

It typically takes less than ten minutes to complete the census form online, according to the census website. Census takers may preview the questions online at 2020census.gov, and participants may fill the survey out online using a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Census takers may also choose to respond by calling 844-330-2020. Phone lines are open every day from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time.

Residents may also respond to the census by returning a mail-in form that was issued to them last month or by the first of April. Participants who choose to mail in their responses are asked to use blue or black ink when filling out the questionnaire. After the form is completed, the questionnaire may be mailed in the envelope provided.

If the return envelope is lost, forms may be mailed to the U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center at 1201 East 10th Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana 47132.

For more information or for answers to frequently asked questions, visit www.2020census.gov.

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