Change in 2020 Census deadline raising concerns over accuracy

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A decision by the U.S. Census Bureau to end data collection one month early for the 2020 Census, could have a dramatic effect on western Massachusetts.

The Census Bureau said that field data collection will stop by September 30 to meet an end-of-the-year deadline to turn in numbers. This includes door-knocking and self-response options such as filling out the survey online, by phone, or by mail. Data collection had been set to end in October.

22News spoke with Michael Moriarty of OneHolyoke about the organization’s goal of making sure all residents are counted.

“We have made a variety of plans understanding that since April that we had until the end of October to follow a tragedy and do outreach in the very hardest to count sections of Holyoke. And unfortunately, taking 30 days out of that is absolutely going to miss more people than we would have,” Moriarty said.

The Census, which happens every 10 years, determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and how billions of federal funding is spent. Critics say a truncated timeline will lead to miscounts in minority groups that have historically been under-counted in the census.

“We have to work a lot harder to support the Census,” Moriarty noted.

In a statement, the Census Bureau said it’s also working to figure out how to comply with presidential memorandums directing undocumented immigrants to not be counted in the 2020 Census.

Moriarty told 2News, OneHolyoke will continue to go door to door right up to September 30 deadline. They’re also encouraging residents to answer the door or take the 10 minutes to fill out a paper or online Census.

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