Four-in-Ten Who Haven’t Yet Filled Out U.S. Census Say They Wouldn’t Answer the Door for a Census Worker

As 2020 census workers begin knocking on the doors of millions of U.S. households that have not returned their census questionnaires, four-in-ten U.S. adults who have not yet responded say they would not be willing to answer their door, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Among those who say they have not participated in the census, 40 percent say they would not be willing to talk to a census worker who came to the door; 59 percent say they would be at least somewhat willing. Those who have not responded to the census so far, according to the survey, are disproportionately likely to be from groups the census has struggled to count accurately in previous decennial census collections, including the Black and Hispanic populations.

The survey of 4,708 U.S. adults, conducted online June 16 to 22, finds that 76 percent say they or someone else in their household already responded to the census. Among the rest, 14 percent say their household has not responded and 10 percent are unsure.

The decennial census, a count of everyone living in the United States as of April 1, is used to apportion the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and guide the distribution of at least $1.5 trillion a year in federal funds. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the count, forcing the Census Bureau to extend data collection by three months, to Oct. 31.

About seven-in-ten adults say they think the 2020 census will be very successful (8 percent) or somewhat successful (60 percent) in accurately counting the number of people living in the U.S., according to the Center’s new survey.

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