Gary Krob, coordinator of the State of Iowa Data Center — the lead state agency managing the state’s census data, says so far, so good for the once-a-decade census. “Sixty-six-point-four percent of all Iowa households have responded,” Krob says. “The national response rate right now is actually 59.5%, so we’re doing better than the national rate. We’re currently ranked third in the country behind Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
Krob, who serves on the State of Iowa 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, says postcards were mailed to every Iowa address in March, directing recipients to either a website or a phone number to complete this year’s census. “What’s going to start happening this week is that the Census Bureau will be going out to households that don’t have what’s considered a traditional mailing address, so, people who wouldn’t have gotten a postcard yet,” Krob says. “They’re going to drop off the forms to those households and it’s really only about less than 1% of the households in the state of Iowa.”
Due to coronavirus, many deadlines are being pushed back. Census workers won’t start following up with nonresponsive households until mid-August, about a month later than normal. People are sometimes wary of anyone who comes to their door, but Krob says Census workers will be easy to identify.
“They’ll have ID, they’ll have a badge, there’ll be a phone number you can call, there will be ways for people who have a worker at their door to identify them and to verify it’s legit,” Krob says. “The easiest way to avoid that is to go online and fill out the form or use the phone number and fill it out that way. If you do that, then no one’s going to be knocking on your door.”
Census data will be used to determine the size of Iowa’s slices from multiple federal pies over the next decade. Iowa has more than $8.7 billion at stake through 55 different programs that consider the population as part of their distribution formula.
Census figures also determine Iowa’s representation in Congress.