Butler County has surpassed national response rates for the 2020 Census so far, but there's still more to be done as door-to-door queries begin.
“(As of Wednesday) Butler County is at 73 percent, so they are well ahead of the state average,” said Susan Licate, a media specialist for the region.
The state had a 65.8 percent response rate Wednesday, and yet Butler County was listed among the top counties to have response rates over 70 percent, also including Adams, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and York counties.
Others, like Cameron, Forest, Monroe, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne counties reported a response rate between 20 and 65 percent.
“Every Pennsylvanian's response to the 2020 Census matters as it determines funding, congressional representation, and policy for our state,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin in a news release Wednesday.
Licate said there are some areas that are lagging behind, including Slippery Rock, Harrisville and Boyers. She said the area surrounding and including East Butler is also hovering around 53 percent.
“We want to make sure everybody is counted, of course,” she said.
Licate said Slippery Rock is a particular area of concern because of Slippery Rock University. She said any students who lived on campus as of April 1 should complete the census as a resident of the university, and not of their parents' homes.
“They are to be counted at the college if they lived at the dorm or lived at any other college housing,” she said.
According to Licate, census takers recently began more active approaches in the county.
County residents are likely to see census takers going door-to-door and at pop-up mobile stations in grocery stores, municipal buildings and other high-traffic areas.
Licate said census takers will only visit homes that have not responded yet, and people can still complete the census online if they do not want census takers to come to their home.
She said while people may be wary of people coming to their homes, census takers are hired specifically for their locale.
“They are local people doing local jobs in neighborhoods they are familiar with,” she said. “They are in full PPE and follow all local, state and federal guidelines in respect to guidance during this pandemic.”
As for the mobile sites, enumerators, the official title of census takers, will set up a table where people can stop and fill out their information.
The U.S. Constitution requires a census count once every 10 years and counts every person living in the United States once and only once.
“The administration is counting on residents across the commonwealth to do their part and respond to the census, as it will impact us all for the next decade,” Licate said.