BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The U.S. Census is coming to an end for 2020, but there is still time for Bridgewater Township residents to take part if they haven’t already.

“It’s the final and most critical phase,” said councilman Michael Kirsh.

Besides being used to measure the nation’s population, the census is also used to determine how federal funding is distributed to local communities. According to a U.S. Department of Commerce press release from earlier this year, that figure is more than $675 billion.

Sign Up for Bridgewater/Raritan Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Kirsh explained there is now a firm deadline of Sept. 30 for the completion of the census, which takes place every 10 years. He said that, in a typical year, census counting would have ended sooner, but it was extended this year because to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension to the end of this month reflected the delay of the start and suspension of census operations, depending on location.

Kirsh said enumerators will be out and about until the deadline, checking in with those residents who have not previously responded to the census by mail, phone or online. That has necessitated what are referred to as “field operations,”  although the other three methods can still be utilized.

Kirsh said he believes that any conversations between residents and visiting enumerators are being conducted at doorsteps or front porches. He also said that census procedures have been adjusted in light of COVID-19 concerns.

He added that notifications about completing the census had been enclosed in municipal tax bills, and that more information on the census is available on the Bridgewater Township website at www.bridgewater.gov, under “United States Census 2020” on the main page.

According to the municipal website, as of Aug. 31, New Jersey’s census response rate so far this year was 67 percent, as compared to a national average of 64.9 percent. Somerset County’s response rate as of then was 75.8 percent, while Bridgewater’s response rate was 82.5 percent.

The Census asks such questions as the number of people living in a particular household as of April 1 of this year; the name, sex, date of birth, ethnicity and race of each person living in said household; the relationship between each person and the individual who is completing the census on behalf of the household; whether the home is owned with or without a mortgage, rented or occupied without payment of rent; and a contact phone number. Census takers will not inquire about citizenship status, financial/banking information, social security numbers or e-mail addresses.