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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Top Stories > General

County's census response ‘Not Good'

Aug 13, 2020

By Joseph Abraham - co-editor

By: Photo from Metro Creative
The deadline to fill out the census is September 30. Census data is very important in determining federal dollars and government representation that an area receives.
SULLIVAN COUNTY -- Time is running out to complete the census. The county's current response rate leaves much to be desired.
“The September 30 impending deadline to get a complete and accurate count of Sullivan County is just 50 days away and only 33.2 percent of our households have responded. Not good!” said Saraid Gonzalez, Program Director of Sullivan 180 and Census Coordinator for the Sullivan County Complete Count Committee (CCC).
Sullivan County's census response rate is almost half of the national average (63.
3 percent) and significantly less than the state average (59.1 percent).
In 2010 the Rockefeller Institute of Government had Sullivan County ranked second to last in the state in census response at 69.5 percent.
Therefore, the CCC has been working to improve the response rate, as census data plays a critical role in determining federal dollars and government representation that an area receives.
According to Gonzalez, the CCC is working with their Census representatives organizing outreach activities at local grocery stores, the DMV and farmers' markets where enumerators will be available to assist the public in completing the questionnaire.
Freda Eisenberg, Sullivan County's Planning Commissioner and the Chair of the Sullivan County Complete Count Committee, added that they are just getting confirmation of NYS funding for outreach efforts, after their initial grant was suspended with the NY Pause. Since the feds have cut the deadline by a month, they'll have a 6-week sprint to improve Sullivan County's count.
Additional efforts, according to Eisenberg, include the Ethelbert B. Crawford Library planning drive through events; the CCC will be doing more advertising, lawn signs etc.; Sullivan County Director of Communications Dan Hust will be creating more videos, and Eisenberg said that the initial Spanish language video with Liberty resident Juan Journet was instrumental in improving the response for that area.

The Town of Neversink has the highest response in the county, at 48 percent, followed by the Town of Mamakating at 44.5 percent.
In regard to Neversink having the highest response thus far, Town Supervisor Chris Mathews said, “I'm very proud of my town. We always come through on things like this.”
In terms of villages, Liberty has the highest response at 44.3 percent, with Wurtsboro closely behind at 43.3 percent.
Fallsburg and Woodridge have the lowest response by town and village respectively at 19.1 and 15.9 percent. (See sidebar for percentages by towns and villages).
"It is vitally important for all residents of Fallsburg to log on to and respond to the census,” said Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante. “It is crucial and will determine and affect representation, as well as funding for the next ten years. We are committed to spreading the word and assisting our residents in responding as soon as possible.”

• Seasonal and part-time residents should complete the census for their Sullivan address even if they've already filed a form for their primary address.
• People who normally received their mail at PO boxes would have had their census materials delivered to their door, but because of COVID-19, this was done quite late. Every household should complete a census form regardless of whether they received anything from the census bureau.
• Renters should fill out the census for the address they are living at - landlords do not do this.
• Census enumerators are visiting households that have not filed a form. The best way to avoid this is to self-respond on-line or by phone.
• People can fill out the census through September. It's not too late, but will be soon.
• The Census is important. People should ask everyone they come in contact with whether they've completed the census, and urge them to do so if they haven't.

Census response (% as of Aug. 9)
Neversink 48.0
Mamakating 44.5
Forestburgh 43.4
Callicoon 39.6
Tusten 39.1
Cochecton 39
Delaware 39
Liberty 37.9
Highland 36
Lumberland 35.2
Thompson 33.5
Rockland 31.6
Fremont 27.6
Bethel 25.7
Fallsburg 19.1

Liberty 44.3
Wurtsboro 43.3
Monticello 34.9
Jeffersonville 32
Bloomingburg 28
Woodridge 15.9

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