Census workers canvassing addresses

Published 9:08 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

U.S. Census Bureau canvassing of addresses in Freeborn County is under way and is expected to be completed by the end of May, the manager of the St. Paul census office said Wednesday.

The manager, Diane Abendroth, said the week of April 20 was the first full week of canvassing during which all of the trained census workers were in the field.

The canvassing is the first phase of 2010 census operations, which includes updating addresses in the community to make a complete address list, Abendroth said.

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Address canvassers are required to wear a badge when they are in the field and can be seen with a handheld computer, she noted.

On the computers, the workers can confirm or add addresses, in the case that an apartment has been added to a house, she said. After the information is entered, it is transferred to census headquarters. The goal is to ensure everyone residing in the United States receives a 2010 questionnaire.

There are processing centers in Maryland and Indiana, she said.

Canvassers will knock on doors during this phase of operations, and if someone is home they will ask if there is a separate residence under the same roof, Abendroth said. If nobody is home and the canvasser is assured of the address, he or she doesn’t have to do a follow-up.

Questionnaires will be mailed out to the addresses next year starting in February, she said.

It is on these forms that people will be asked to identify who lives in their residences, along with their ages and races. Responses to the questionnaire are required by law.

Sample questionnaires can be viewed online at www.census.gov.

After the forms are returned, all of the census data must be tabulated and in a report on President Barack Obama’s desk by Dec. 31, 2010.

Abendroth said Minnesota is close to losing a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives if the population decreases by somewhere between 1,800 or 2,000 people across the state.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 140,000 census workers hired from within local communities to canvass neighborhoods.