Responding to the census in Hamilton County, TN

Responding to the census online is safe + easy. | U.S. Census Bureau

The United States Census Bureau is doing all they can to count everyone living in the country in the 2020 Census. As of Sept. 14, Hamilton County’s response rate is 67%.

By law, the first results from the census must be provided by Dec. 31. These results are used to decide funding for critical services and infrastructure in our communities for the next 10 years + determine how many seats each state gets in Congress. To provide complete and accurate results by that deadline, the bureau needs to collect responses by Sept. 30

This year, for the first time, everyone can choose to respond online, in addition to by phone + by mail.

There are a number of protocols and procedures to ensure security and data confidentiality. These include:

  • Federal requirements to protect data 
  • An IT infrastructure to defend against and contain cyber threats
  • Self-response collections via a secure page + encrypted devices used by census takers

Note: Census responses are not shared with law enforcement or immigration agencies, and responses cannot be used against individuals. All Census Bureau employees take an oath for life to protect census responses and data — violating this oath is a federal crime.

In Tennessee, State Rep. Yusuf Hakeem (District 28) + other legislators said they are fearful there will be a census undercount in Black and lower-income communities. An undercount means a loss of political representation and program funds. In an effort to get the response rate higher, these political leaders are pushing a participation initiative into the medical community, schools, and houses of worship.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke is also encouraging everyone in Chattanooga to respond as soon as possible.

“In Chattanooga, everyone counts, and right now, I’m counting on you to do your part,” Berke said.

We have been talking about the 2020 Census since March, so we know you’re getting tired of hearing about it, but it is a Constitutionally mandated count and the deadline is looming. Responding is quick + easy, and it’s the best way to ensure the future of our communities.