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2020 Census Update: Unconventional Methods and Response Rates

Both sides of the aisle and independents wondered whether the Democratic National Committee could produce an engaging convention experience in the midst of a pandemic. Based on the theme, “Uniting America,” the DNC’s unconventional decision to virtually showcase America’s diversity and natural beauty was a success. Raising $70 million during the four-day primetime event, August 17-20, 2020, spoke favorably about the DNC’s ability to engage viewers via the digital platform, Zoom. As each evening evolved, the convention staff smoothed out transitions from the hosts, to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, moments of prayer, musical performances, the roll call of delegates, group chats, acknowledgments, and keynote speeches. Joe Biden, Former Vice President and Presidential Candidate, and Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator (CA) and Vice Presidential Candidate, accepted their respective nomination via Zoom. Even though traditional television viewership for the Democratic National Convention was down from 2016, the increase in online viewership via streaming services such as Hulu and Roku, and social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, substantially offset the decline. A similar digital divide can be seen in the Census 2020. High Internet Response Rates are fueling Total Response Rates for the U.S. (64.1%), New York (59.9%), and Westchester County (65%). Like the DNC’s unconventional decision to host the convention via Zoom, the Census Bureau’s decision to offer U.S. residents the option of completing the Census 2020 online (, as well as by phone (1-844-330-2020/English and (844) 468-2020/Spanish), or by mail, was spot on. More residents have answered the nine Census 2020 questions online. Considering social distancing guidelines, completing the Census 2020 online might be the safest and fastest way to make sure you are counted. As the Republican National Committee prepares to host its convention in-person, August 24-27, 2020, in Raleigh, NC and Washington, D.C., with virtual components, anticipate that politicians, activists, and campaign experts will likely split along party lines when gauging its success. Conversely, the success of Census 2020 for New York and Westchester County will not depend on political affiliation, nor immigration status. The success of Census 2020 is determined by an accurate count of households, which contributes to the proper allocation of electoral votes for Congress and appropriate level of funding for essential programs in education, transportation, infrastructure projects, public safety, and other areas. Each household that is not counted equals a loss of approximately $2,500 per year for each of Westchester’s municipalities. For every 400 people who are not counted, the loss could equal a loss of about $1 million in funding each year, for ten years. Use unconventional methods during these unconventional times. Complete the Census 2020 online -- Make Us Count!

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