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Utah census workers opt for door-to-door method ahead of deadline

FILE - Census workers have started knocking on doors in an effort to count residents in the statewide census, reporting only 67% of Utah households have responded. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Census workers have started knocking on doors in an effort to count residents in the statewide census, reporting only 67% of Utah households have responded so far. These responses have been received by both mail and online. 

This comes after the Trump Administration announced it would end census counts Sept. 30 — nearly a month early. This gives census counters just over six weeks to register nearly a third of the state. 

Now the Census Bureau is in an all-out sprint to get the job done. 

“There’s no need to wait for a census taker to visit your home,” said Coralys Ruiz, media specialist for the Census Bureau. “And it’s so easy and convenient just to do it on your own while practicing social distancing.”

The Census Bureau originally set a deadline for counts for the end of July. However, the government extended the deadline because of thwarted efforts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The national census — completed once every 10 years — determines Congressional representation, as well as allocations from federal funding. But it also documents a permanent record of valuable family history, Ruiz said. 

“You can see where your ancestors were living [and] who they were,” Ruiz said. “So it’s really important for each one of us to complete that questionnaire.”

For those worried about social distancing, Ruiz said census takers will be taking steps to protect from COVID-19. They’ll also be easily identifiable before Utahns open the door. 

Census takers will wear masks while carrying “a Census ID and a Census messenger bag.” They’ll also “have a personal handheld device” to record numbers.