U.S. Census response could impact COVID-19 vaccines

Indiana News

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s not too late to fill out the 2020 United States Census. Participation has never been more important due to the pandemic.

Not only will an accurate count dictate funding, but it could also determine how many COVID-19 vaccines would be allocated once approved.

The form takes about 10 minutes to fill out but will determine resources for the next 10 years.

Right now – only 60% of Indianapolis residents have filled out the survey. Statewide, it’s 66%. The national average is 62%.

“We know that the census data funds critical public services such as health care, emergency services, disaster response, schools,” said Marilyn Sanders, the Chicago regional director for the United States Census Bureau. “It’s so important because it also determines congressional representation, as well as being mandated by the constitution.”

If you don’t fill it out, expect a knock on your door in August. Census workers aren’t letting the pandemic stop them from coming to you.

“We make certain that they all have PPE so they can safely knock on those doors while practicing social distancing,” said Sanders.

You can send the form in by mail, complete the survey over the phone or fill it out online.

Chris Clifton, a computer science professor at Purdue University, said he would prefer the online method.

“I’m very comfortable sending that information online,” said Clifton.

Clifton said all of the ways of completing the census are secure – especially this year due to some new precautions.

“They have gone to a new technique called differential privacy, and the idea is they add a little bit of noise to the data before they publish the results,” said Clifton.

This allows the bureau to prove privacy guarantees when it comes to your information.

“It’s probably one of the safest things you can do with your personal information,” explained Clifton.

The deadline to complete the 2020 United States Census is October 31.

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