U.S. Census workers are knocking on some doors in Moore County through mid-October to verify addresses prior to the 2020 Census. Known as an address canvass, it is one of the more visible census-related activities underway locally.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted once every 10 years. Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads and businesses.
The compilation of an accurate address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate census count.
Field staff, called listers, will have a valid photo I.D. badge with a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, an official briefcase and computer laptop that identify their affiliation with the Census Bureau. The listers will compare existing census information with what they see in the community, and may inquire about additional living quarters in a home or on the property.
In addition to field staff, the Census Bureau created new software called the Block Assessment, Research and Classification Application (BARCA). It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census Bureau employees to spot new housing developments, changes in existing homes and other housing units that did not previously exist. Reviewers also use BARCA to compare the number of housing units in current imagery with the number of addresses on file for each block.
“We were able to verify 65% of addresses using satellite imagery — a massive accomplishment for us,” said Census Bureau Geography Division Chief Deirdre Bishop during a press event in August.
In 2010, the federal agency hired 150,000 people to verify every single address in the field. This time around, the Census Bureau has only needed to hire about 40,000 people nationwide to verify the 35 percent of remaining addresses not verified through BARCA.
“The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that we are on track, and ready to accomplish the mission of the 2020 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, during the briefing. “We have made many improvements and innovations over the past decade, including better technologies for canvassing neighborhoods and developing complete and updated address listings and maps.”
The Census Bureau also partners with the U.S. Postal Service and tribal, state and local officials to update the address list.
Count on Moore
The 2020 Census will be unique as the first in the nation’s history when data will primarily be collected online. The official count kicks off next January, and most households will receive postcard-style invitations to respond online, by phone or by mail in March 2020.
Early in 2019, the Moore County Complete Count Committee (CCC) was formed to help the local community prepare for an accurate count. Volunteer committee members include influential nonprofit, religious, educational and government leaders who will serve as a “trusted voice in the community,” when the actual count begins.
One of the tasks for the Moore County CCC is to identify hard-to-county areas and populations, and develop a plan to engage these groups. Children ages 0 to 4 years are the most undercounted demographic in the nation. Rural areas or homes with limited internet access may also prove challenging for census takers.
North Carolina is the nation’s fourth fastest growing state, according to new census data released in May, adding approximately 63,000 new housing units between 2017 and 2018; and a total of 357,000 housing units since 2010.
The most recent census update for Moore County’s, based on data collected in July 2018, indicates the area grew by 1,450 people between 2017 and 2018; with an 11.8 percent population increase overall since 2010.
For more information on address canvassing, visit the Census Bureau at www.census.gov or you can call (800) 923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.