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All about the numbers

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As the 2020 Census nears its finish line, community members are likely to see workers out canvassing Polk County communities. 

Sydney Allen, City of Bolivar planning and zoning director, said the final deadline to respond to the census is Tuesday, Aug. 11. 

“However, the Census Bureau has started sending census takers into communities,” she said.

As of Thursday, July 30, 63.7% of Polk County residents had responded to census questionnaires. Those living within Bolivar city limits fared slightly better with 64.7% of residents responding. 

Nationwide, 62.8% of Americans had sent in responses, per the U.S. Census Bureau website. Missouri had kept pace with national average with 62.9% of residents responding.

Allen previously said the national goal was a 90% response rate. 

Polk County has some work to do to meet previous numbers. 

In 2000, an average of 76% of Polk County’s residents responded to the census, while the average dropped to 72% in 2010, she said.

Missouri ranked 24th out of 50 states for response rate in the 2010 census, “so we’re right in the middle as far as getting people to respond,” Allen previously said.

She said the goal is “to count everyone once, only once and in the right place.”  

Allen said as the census comes to a close, it’s important for locals to remember “how important this data is.” 

“It determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives,” she said. “The data is also used to decide how billions of dollars are spent in more than 100 programs, like Medicaid and Head Start.”

Allen said the impact of the census is very real in the everyday lives of Polk County’s residents. 

She said information gathered “helps communities make decisions like where to locate new schools, roads and other services that benefit the public.” 

“Since this only happens once every 10 years, it is important that our numbers are as accurate as possible so our community gets the assistance we need,” Allen said. 

Area residents still have three ways to fill out a census questionnaire — online, by phone and by mail.  

People can file online by visiting the official Census Bureau website, census.gov, and typing in their addresses.

The website said residents also have the option of completing the questionnaire by phone by calling 844-330-2020. Phone lines are open every day from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. eastern time.

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