Completing the 2020 Census in Chattanooga, TN

Hamilton County’s response rate is higher than the state’s. | Screenshot, U.S. Census Bureau

With about three months left to complete the Constitutionally mandated census count for 2020, officials are reminding everyone that it’s paramount to take the time to fill out the survey. 

From legal issues, like child custody matters, to having more people living in a home than a lease requires, there are many reasons people may be reluctant to respond to the census.

But it’s paramount that everyone responds, so local communities can get the needed funding to cover everyone in the area. And all the information shared is 100% confidential for at least 72 years, she said.

Quoteworthy: “There is no risk to you in responding; it can only help.” – June Iljana, U.S. Census Bureau

Fast Facts 

Response rates so far 

The City of Chattanooga’s response is lower than the state’s and lower than Hamilton County’s. | Screenshot, U.S. Census Bureau


Nationwide: 62.3% 

Statewide: 61.7%

Hamilton County: 63.3%

Chattanooga: 57.5%

Hamilton County’s response rate is higher than both the nation and state. Great job, y’all! Keep it up. Chattanooga, this is your challenge to catch up with the county. 

Some surrounding counties have lower response rates, possibly because this is the first time responding online has been an option and internet access may be less reliable in more rural areas, Iljana said. 

Marion County: 50.4%

Sequatchie County: 54.1%

Rhea County: 51.5%

Meigs County: 49.5% 

Quick tips 

  • Check this link for complete instructions about how to respond to the census. 
  • Count the children. In the last census, about 1 million children weren’t counted, but the info will be used to fund programs children will benefit from. 
  • This year’s tornado most likely won’t affect how you fill out the survey. Because April 1 was Census Day, people should respond with details about how their household was on that day. Don’t count yourself as living in another area if you’re only temporarily displaced but will be going back to your home. 

Why do we need a population count? 

  • The Constitution mandates that the country count its population once every 10 years. 
  • Billions of dollars in federal funding for hospitals, fire departments, roads and schools, among other necessities, are based on census data.
  • The census data also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. And that information is used to draw state and congressional legislative districts.