Census Bureau form

This March 23, 2018, photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation’s only test run of the 2020 Census.

NAMPA — This month, U.S. Census Bureau workers began address-canvassing across the country to confirm and refine the bureau’s list of households.

Address-canvassing as the process of examining physical addresses to provide an accurate address list and to determine the type and address characteristics for each living quarter.

The canvassing is necessary to ensure invitations to participate in the 2020 Census are sent out to every household, according to a teleconference Census Bureau media briefing Monday.

Nearly 50,000 temporary Census canvassers, known as “listers” will walk through neighborhoods to verify more than 50 million addresses. The listers can be identified by the Census credentials hanging around their necks and by the black messenger bags with the Census logo on them.

The listers will be validating about 35% of the nation, Deirdre Bishop, Census Bureau geography division chief, said during the teleconference.

Bishop said the bureau already has been able to verify 65% of the nation’s households using satellite imagery. In 2010, the bureau had to hire 150,000 listers to verify all of the households in the U.S., Bishop said.

Census Bureau listers began their work verifying households this month and will continue through the middle of October.

A map compiled by the Census Bureau shows what locations listers will be visiting over the next few months.

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The bureau relies on the U.S. Postal Service and tribal, state and local officials to help update the address list.

Last month, the Idaho State Complete Count Committee, one of several state such committees across the country, met to discuss “hard-to-count” communities. Some of those communities are migrant workers, immigrant communities, homeless people and renters.

Wendy Jaquet, former state legislator and co-chairwoman of the Idaho Complete Count Committee, said she was most worried about the bureau under-counting immigrant communities in Idaho.

“I think there is a lot of fear about, ‘What does it mean, will I get deported if I do the census?’” Jaquet told the Idaho Press last month. “Those are the reasons why I think we will be under-counted.”

The 2020 Census will not have a citizenship question, and information will not be shared with other federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Census data is used to determine how many seats each state holds in Congress and how federal funds are distributed to states and local communities for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools and businesses.

Address-canvassing is the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. The Census count starts in January 2020 in Toksook Bay, Alaska. After the count of Toksook Bay, households across the country will begin receiving invitations to respond to the Census online, by phone or by mail in March 2020.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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