You may have seen the signs, both in Seattle and elsewhere, seeking temporary workers to conduct the door-to-door portion of the 2020 US Census. Even as the census bureau beats the bushes looking for workers, census activities are ongoing and have been since August.
While the official US head count will not begin until next year, the census bureau conducts many other types of surveys, and the city of Seattle wants you to know your rights if someone purporting to be from the census comes around.
As we all know, there is no shortage of people who go door-to-door pretending to be someone they are not. According to the city website, official US census workers should all have:
- A US census-branded bag
- A badge with photo identifying them as census employees
- A 2020 census laptop
Individual employees can be verified as such by calling the census bureau at (213) 314-6500. Regardless, there is no legal obligation to open your door to these workers (so the city says).
The census is currently in the middle of what they call Neighborhood Address Canvassing which is intended to assist with next year’s census. Per the city website, “Census employees will knock on doors and ask a few short questions to verify the address and any additional living spaces on the property for inclusion in the 2020 Census.” The census bureau’s statement on this process adds that overhead imagery is also used to verify that the bureau’s database of addresses and housing units is still in correspondence with physical reality.
Most of you will recall the kerfuffle over the Trump administration’s push to include a citizenship question on this year’s census. While that effort was blocked by federal courts, the question remains on a number of other surveys which the census bureau conducts, among them the American Community Survey.