The HRPDC is launching a new “Map of the Month” feature in our newsletter. The purpose of the map series is to visualize interesting data or trends primarily focused on Hampton Roads and Virginia. Each month, a new map will be released in the newsletter but an archive of the maps will be kept at HRGEO to view at any time.
The first Map of the Month provides insight into a timely topic – the 2020 Census. The US Census Bureau, mandated by the Constitution, must count every person living in the United States and its territories every ten years. The census is important because it determines the number of seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives and how the congressional voting districts are drawn. Secondly, billions of dollars of federal funding (roads, schools, public safety, etc.) are released to communities largely based on census data.
Each household in America received an invitation to answer the census questionnaire in March 2020. This is the first time that households can respond via the Internet. With almost 330 million people in the country, it is proving to be an efficient way to collect the information. In the past, all responses were sent in by mail, phone, or collected by door-to-door workers conducting interviews. Some households in areas without good Internet connections will still receive paper questionnaires and those households who do not respond will be visited by a Census taker in person.
The 2020 Census Response Rates map shows the total percentage of households that have responded to the census questionnaire via all methods to date. The user can input an address to find the response rate in a particular neighborhood. The percentage of households that responded via the Internet are also shown. The rates are mapped using census tracts, which is a geography created by the Census Bureau for the purpose of statistical analysis. The map is updated daily, Monday-Friday, through September 14, then weekly until October 31. That is the last day the response rates will be updated as the Census Bureau must begin processing the collected data to report the official count to the President and Congress in December 2020.