Census deadline approaches as pandemic causes challenges

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – It only comes around every 10 years, and this year has presented some challenges due to COVID-19. The 2020 census got underway April 1st and this time, there has been a major digital push.

Jeff Hanson with the City of Sioux City is leading the census outreach efforts. He says a lot of the in-person events that he planned had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

He refocused his efforts to promote the census through Facebook campaigns, bus signs, and billboards to help get the word out along with virtual events. People still have the option to fill out a census either online, by phone, mail, or in person at city hall.

Hanson says he’s noticed significant growth since 2010. He expects an increase in the count as well.

“With new employment opportunities here in Sioux City and a significant increase in new residential buildings, so we know the growth is here and we want to make sure we are counted for that and that our progress is shown in this next census,” said Hanson.

In the state of Iowa, the self-response rates have topped 70%. Iowa is now the 6th highest in the nation. For Sioux City, the response rate is 67.6%. A more accurate count of the number of residents means an increase in the amount of federal funding and congressional representation.

“The population data is used for a lot of our grant opportunities in Sioux City. So obviously the better we can be represented on the actual population counts the better our funding opportunities and grants both federal and state,” said Hanson.

The current deadline to fill out the census is September 30, but there is a potential that the date could be extended due to the pandemic hindering the count.

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