Census 2020 HTC map news: Area Census Office search on the map


May 14, 2020 updates for the Census 2020 Hard to Count/Response Rate map

Search for “Area Census Offices” on the Map to See Where Update/Leave Operations will ResumeThis email update includes:

  • Updates to our map’s search feature, focused on Area Census Offices.
  • Our latest analysis of the nation’s self-response rate trends, covering Week 7 (May 1 though May 7).
  • Organizations that are leveraging our map in their work, and other projects to analyze the response rates.

Search for Area Census Offices where Update/Leave operations are restarting

The Census Bureau has resumed Update/Leave operations across 22 states that had been suspended in early March. Operations were restarted on May 6 across 13 states, and then 9 more states were added starting May 13. Update/Leave is the Bureau’s method of hand-delivering census packets to homes that have non-traditional addresses, seasonal homes, or other areas where hand-delivery is preferred over mail (leaving the packet at the door & updating the address in the Bureau’s master list). The operation was intended to cover 5 million housing units in 2020 stateside, but most of these homes (about 95%) never received packets because the Bureau suspended the operation due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The map below highlights these states and the Area Census Offices (ACOs) within them that will administer the hand-delivery of census packets. The Bureau will add to this list when health and safety considerations enable them to restart Update/Leave in more areas.

You can now search for any Area Census Office on our HTC/Response Rate map by ACO name, ACO ID number, or state.  The search feature will display a list of ACOs that match what you’ve typed in.   When you select an ACO from the list, the map will zoom to and highlight the ACO boundary and display information about if and when Update/Leave operations have restarted, and also the number of housing units covered by Update/Leave within the ACO. You can toggle on and off the ACO boundaries on the map:

Response Rate Analysis from Week 7

In collaboration with the Census Counts 2020 coalition and the Funders Census Initiative, we continue to examine response rate trends nationwide, especially in relation to communities with historically undercounted populations.

Our weekly analyses are available at the Center for Urban Research/CUNY Graduate Center website. Topics covered for Week 7 (May 1 through May 7) include:

How to track 2020 Census self-response rates during the extended response timeframe.

  • We are in uncharted self-response rate territory. Just as in 2010, April 30 would have been the end of the 2020 self-response operation. At this point in May 2010, the door-knocking phase was about to begin. Under the original 2020 Census plan, follow-up visits to unresponsive households would have started this month on May 13.
  • At this point & going forward, instead of looking back to 2010 for daily comparisons, we can look ahead to the now-extended response timeframe for 2020. The new timeframe provides an unprecedented opportunity to substantially boost response rates, reduce the universe of households that will need to be counted in-person, and change the historic pattern of geographic and demographic characteristics of the nonresponse follow-up (NRFU) universe.
  • The chart below compares the arc of the 2010 self-response rates (basically unchanging after April 30, 2010) with the ongoing 2020 rates by state and for the nation as a whole, which are continuing their upward trajectory.

Recent mailings from the Census Bureau with the paper questionnaire to non-responding households have boosted response rates, but rates in Internet Choice tracts are lagging behind rates in Internet First tracts.

  • On May 7, the average response rate was 62.6% across tracts nationwide where homes had received Internet First packets. This rate was almost 5 points above the May 7 U.S. rate.
  • Average response rate across tracts nationwide where homes had received Internet Choice packets was only 48.5%. This was 9 points below the U.S. rate.
  • The gap between the average response rate for Internet First and Internet Choice tracts has grown to almost 14 points. A week earlier, the gap was 13 points, and the week prior it was 10 points.

Some takeaways regarding response rates across tracts by race/Hispanic origin and foreign-born vs native-born populations:

  • Overall, response rates in the largest cities (with populations of 1 million or more) tend to be lower than rates in tracts in smaller cities or outside cities.
  • Tracts whose populations are predominantly Black or Hispanic tend to have the lowest response rates.
  • Tracts whose populations are predominantly Asian also tend to have low rates in the largest cities (with populations of 1 million or more), but higher in smaller cities or incorporated places.
  • Tracts whose population is predominantly foreign-born tend to have lower response rates than tracts that are predominantly native-born for each group (this pattern holds also for tracts that are predominantly foreign-born non-Hispanic White compared with native-born White).

Our next analysis will cover Weeks 8 and 9 (May 8 through May 21), and will continue every two weeks after that.

Other Response Rate Mapping/Analysis Efforts & Links to the HTC map

Other organizations across the country are doing great work to analyze Census response rate trends. Here are some recent examples we’ve come across:

Please let us know if we’ve missed any other examples.

Links to earlier updates

Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @Census2020Map !

The HTC 2020 map is a work in progress. Other recent updates and enhancements are described here:

  • May 6, 2020: News about where the Update/Leave operation is resuming, and our latest self-response rate analyses (Weeks 4, 5, & 6).
  • April 13, 2020: Week 3 Response Rate Analysis; Trendlines Added to the Map.
  • April 7, 2020: Week 2 Response Rate analysis; Tribal Lands added to the map.
  • April 3, 2020: Census 2020 HTC map news: “Census Day” Self-Response Bump; Data Q&A.
  • March 31, 2020: Week 1 Response Rate analysis.
  • March 23, 2020: Update on mapping self-response rates, with emphasis on the 2020 progress bar that fills in daily after the latest rates are published, easy share/embed options for your map, and some notes on the data.
  • March 19 2020: In a joint statement with our colleagues at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), we highlighted the importance of a fair and accurate 2020 Census as the coronavirus challenges grow, and lifted up the resources available at our HTC 2020 map to help inspire Americans to fill out the 2020 Census form on their own. Self-responding helps ensure that the Census Bureau collects reliable data about the nation’s population. And self-responding is a way to practice social distancing because it avoids a knock at your door later on from a census taker.
  • March 2020: The HTC map is now focused on census self-response rates. All the former info at the map is still there. But now that census mailings are going out, the map has been updated to reflect 2010 response rates in anticipation of integrating 2020 real-time rates after March 20. NB: the map not only displays response rates for each state, county, and tract, but also include a bar chart in the map’s left-hand panel that shows the 2010 rate (and 2000, for historical context) for now. The 2020 column in the bar chart is empty, but it will start to go up after March 20. How quickly and how far it rises depends on local census stakeholders!
  • February 2020: New data on the risk of undercounting young children, in collaboration with the Population Reference Bureau. For more info, visit PRB’s website.
  • January 2020: To help promote the official start of the 2020 Census in Alaska, we added a special “It Starts Here” (in Toksook Bay, AK) graphic on the map. Updates in January also included new 2014-2018 population estimates for tracts, counties, states, legislative districts, and more.
  • December 2019: New advanced tract search feature, statewide maps of Census Bureau contact strategies, and more.
  • November 2019: Comprehensive information for all 2020 Census contact techniques combined in one place at the HTC 2020 map, so census stakeholders can more easily inform local residents about what to expect when the 2020 decennial census takes place. Also see the CUNY Center for Urban Research website for a state-by-state analysis.
  • October 2019: Updates to TEA designations; the latest examples of groups using the HTC map across the country; enhancing the HTC metrics with the Census Bureau’s “low response score”, the Urban Institute’s projections of undercount by state; & more.
  • August 2019: In-Field Address Canvassing areas & stats on the map; organizations that are using the HTC map for local grant assistance; new examples of linking to and/or embedding the HTC map.
  • July 2019: new feature to highlight tracts based on share of households without internet access; a list of other census maps nationwide, and more.
  • June 2019: Census contacts by state/county; census tract search feature.
  • April 2019: customized printing, data downloads, and more.
  • March 2019: mapping Type of Enumeration Areas (TEA) and Area Census Offices (ACOs)
  • January 2019: new ACS data for the 2013-17 period (including internet access), new legislative info, public library locations, and tribal lands added to the map.

If you haven’t signed up for our HTC 2020 map updates, please do so here.

We look forward to hearing your suggestions for improving the map. Please contact the Mapping Service at the CUNY Graduate Center with your feedback.



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