Despite fears that misinformation and an endlessly changing deadline date might depress the response to the 2020 U.S. Census, efforts by local governments and other organizations locally appeared to have kept the decennial effort to count the nation’s population near the forefront of residents’ minds.
At 5 a.m. on Oct. 16 the U.S. Census officially stopped accepting responses online – mail-in submissions needed to be postmarked Oct. 15 – and local residents can be proud to know that Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside households responded at rates greater than they did for the last census in 2010.
Leading the way locally was Riverside, where the self-response rate – meaning those who responded directly online, by mail or by phone – was 83.1 percent. That put Riverside in the top 4 percent of cities nationwide (tied for 777th place) in terms of self-response. Riverside’s self-response rate in 2020 represented a 5.1 percent increase over its 2010 Census self-response rate.
Brookfield’s self-response rate for the 2020 Census was 81 percent, which placed it among the top 6.6 percent of cities nationwide (tied for 1,278th place) and represented a 3.2-percent increase in self-response from 2010.
In North Riverside, the 2020 census self-response rate was 78.6 percent. While lower than its two neighbors, the village self-response rate improved by 0.2 percent from 2010. As for the village’s place nationally, North Riverside tied for 1,998th place – which still placed it among the top 10.4 percent of cities in the United States.
Two “cities” in the United States posted a 100-percent self-response rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Those were North River, North Dakota, and Balltown, Iowa, each of which have populations of less than 70 people.
Illinois’ statewide self-response rate was 71.3 percent, which tied it for sixth among states with Virginia. Placing first for self-response was Minnesota at 75 percent. Illinois’ self-response rate in 2020 was a higher than the 70.5-percent rate in 2010 and the 69-percent self-response rate in 2000.
Nationwide, the 2020 Census self-response rate was 66.8 percent, perhaps a bit disappointing given the multiple ways the bureau provided for responding this year for the first time. That’s about the same as the final mail-only response rate in 2010, which was 66.5 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that 99.9 percent of households in the United States have been “enumerated,” but that figure is far less revealing than the self-report rate.
If households do not self-respond, the census sends out enumerators to personally make contact them and get a response. Sometimes they are successful, but sometimes those visits can result in partial or no results. Those households are still termed “enumerated” since an attempt was made to count them.