'We're Counting on You' Census workshop held in Bismarck | Prairie Public Broadcasting

'We're Counting on You' Census workshop held in Bismarck

Feb 4, 2020

A one day workshop was held in Bismarck to talk about the 2020 Census.

It was sponsored by the North Dakota Census 2020 Task Force – and was dubbed “We’re Counting on You.”

North Dakota Census Office manager Kevin Iverson said the purpose of the workshop was for everyone to learn how the Census will be conducted, and specifically what happens when people don’t respond. Iverson said in 2010, the results were seen as incomplete.

"In North Dakota, we know there were 846 incidences where children showed up in other forms of federal data -- such as, somebody claiming children on their federal tax return," Iverson said. "But at those particular households, no children under 5 years of age were reported."

KIverson said the Native American population was undercounted.

"About 4.9 percent of Native Americans on reservations nationwide went uncounted," Iverson said. "My suspicions are that we (North Dakota) did a little worse than that."

Iverson said the goal is to count everyone – because some federal funding is tied to the population count. And he said this count has a full decade of impact.

"We need to get this right this time, because we don't get anotehr chance for a decade," Iverson said.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau is still looking for workers in North Dakota. The Bureau wants to hire 1200 people statewide.

"I don't think in any county in the state, they've met their full requirement," Iverson said. "There are certainly more rural counties, especially in the western part of the state, where they're below 50 percent of their objective."

Iverson said it’s important to have people who are knocking on the doors of those who don’t fill out the census forms be friends and neighbors.

"We don't want people from out of state doing this work," Iverson said. "It needs to be people from the local area."