December 1, 2021

Time remains to complete 2020 Census

Remembering to complete the 2020 Census hasn’t been easy, given everything that’s happened this year — just ask Willet Town Supervisor and farmer Sandy Doty, who hasn’t filled his out yet.

“I’m just as guilty as the rest of them,” he said Thursday. “It’s just one of those things that gets put on the back burner and then the back burner burns out.”

Self-response to the decennial U.S. Census in Cortland County remains below response at this point in 2010, the Census Bureau reports. Only Cincinnatus is on track.

Doty said he’ll get on top of filling his out and put a message on the town’s electronic sign reminding others to do the same because of the importance behind the Census.

Respond to Census


Census information helps provide data for big decisions like representation on a local, state and federal level and funding.

The self-response rate of Cortland County as of Tuesday is 61.4%, still below the county’s 2010 self-response rate of 66.7%, according to a Census map, which tracks response rates across the nation. Of those who self-responded, almost 50% did so using the internet.

Every town but Cincinnatus in Cortland County is still behind its 2010 self response rates. Cincinnatus had 54.1% of people self-respond in 2010, and as of Tuesday has the same response rate this year.

Overall, the towns of Homer and Solon lead in self-response rates with 71.3% and 67.9, respectively. Willet had the lowest self-response rate at 42.3%.

Doty said he hopes an enumerator will catch the ones who don’t respond.

“The county is not really doing anything at this point to get the word out other than the various departments reminding their clients as to the importance of completing the Census,” said Dan Dineen, the retired county Planning Director, who has stayed on part-time until the county finds a successor.

SUNY Cortland college students are counted as living in the county. Those who live on campus are counted in a dormitory count, which the college provides to the Census Bureau. Off-campus students should fill out the Census online or expect to see an enumerator stop by, as they would for any other resident in the county.

“SUNY Cortland had been educating their students as to the importance of completing the census,” Dineen said.

The Census Bureau mailed another paper questionnaire to households that hadn’t responded yet in late August through early September, said Census Media Specialist Chris Iven in an email Thursday.

However, enumerators are out knocking on doors to get more responses. You can identify an enumerator by identification badge with their photograph on it, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date, according to the Census website. Some Census workers will also have bags with the Census logo on them.

Enumerators work seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and are hired locally, according to the website. They will wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. The website also said if someone is not home when enumerators visit, they will leave information on how to self-respond online, by phone or by mail.