To date, New Jersey has reached a self-response rate of 68.1 percent for the 2020 Census, surpassing the last three censuses in self-response: 65 percent in 1990, 68 percent in 2000 and 67.6 percent in 2010, according to Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey residents who have not yet completed the 2020 Census are being encouraged to do so quickly, as census takers are visiting households statewide who have not yet responded.
The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to have all data collected by September 30 so that it can meet a federal deadline of December 31 to deliver that population information, which is used to determine federal funding for the next 10 years and the distribution of political representation, according to Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
“Our hard work over these last several months is paying off — thank you to our network of county and local governments, nonprofits, local complete count committees and New Jersey residents for stepping up to the plate during these unprecedented times by spreading the word about the census and filling it out,” said Way, who serves as chair of the New Jersey Complete Count Commission. "I’m especially proud of New Jersey’s self-response rate in this difficult time, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing many of our efforts online."
Responses from the 2020 U.S. Census help determine where more than $45 billion in annual federal funds to New Jersey goes to help with much-needed community improvements, including for clinics, schools, roads and more. Responses are also used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats New Jersey has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Census in-person employees, or enumerators, are local residents who have been hired and trained to interview residents and capture a more accurate count for the decennial census. Enumerators will follow up with households who have not yet completed the 2020 Census online, over the phone or through mail, and will carry a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
While enumerators will wear a mask and have completed a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods, residents can minimize the chance of an in-person visit by quickly responding to the census online, over the phone or by mail.
Census responses are safe and secure, as the U.S. Census Bureau is bound by federal law to keep census responses confidential and use the data for statistics only, with any violation subject to a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison. The bureau is prohibited from sharing personal information with other organizations and government agencies, including employers, landlords, police, courts, FBI or ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
The 2020 Census is open to all households to complete on line at 2020CENSUS.GOV, over the phone by calling 844-330-2020 or 844-468-2020 for Spanish, and by paper through the mail. Residents who do not have their unique 12-digit number, received on a census invitation mailed to their home, can still complete the census on line at 2020CENSUS.GOV.