Norwich wants to ensure complete count in 2020 Census

Norwich — The 2020 U.S. Census won’t start counting residents in Norwich and the region until next spring, but Norwich officials are gearing up now with the creation of a local Complete Count Committee representing numerous organizations in the effort to ensure all Norwich residents are counted.

Several city, state and federal officials, including Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, gathered Monday morning in the Council Chambers at City Hall as part of a statewide tour of key cities and towns to promote the upcoming 2020 Census. Representatives from the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribal nations joined them and also pledged to organize complete count efforts of tribal members.

Mayor Peter Nystrom said Norwich’s Complete Count Committee will have 20 members, eight of whom already have been chosen from key local organizations, such as Otis Library and Global City Norwich. Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact the mayor’s office at (860) 823-3742 or by email to mayorsoffice@cityofnorwich.org. The Norwich City Council likely will be asked to adopt a resolution creating the Complete Count Committee soon. Several other Connecticut cities have done so, Bysiewicz said.

Mark Plumley, representing the U.S. Census Bureau, said the formal count will begin in March 2020. Connecticut will have three census offices, one each in Danbury, New Haven and Hartford, which are hiring staff now.

A majority of local census workers will be short-term temporary enumerators to be paid $21 per hour to work next summer to try to reach people who did not answer the census either by mail, online or by phone. The Census Bureau will coordinate the effort with local law enforcement agencies, Plumley said.

Applications for those positions are available at www.2020census.gov/jobs.

Eva Bunnell, partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau’s New York Regional Office, as well as the congressional and tribal liaison for the bureau for Connecticut, told the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments last week the goal is for every town and city across the state to have a Complete Count Committee.

Bunnell said the bureau is seeking the help of elected officials, community organizations and faith-based organizations to get the message out through trusted voices that the census is safe, easy and important.

“We need your help in getting to those hard-to-reach populations that we predict will not self-respond to the census,” she said.

The bureau predicts children under the age of 5, young black men between the ages of 18 to 24, recent immigrants and renters will be the hardest to count in the census, she said.

Bunnell and Plumley both said the census is protected by law, so the bureau cannot share information that identifies a person or a household with anyone who asks, including federal, state or local agencies or individuals, courts, or law enforcement officials, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“We also use the world’s very latest, state-of-the-art cybersecurity methods to protect every piece of information that we obtain,” she added.

She said the census is important because it determines the apportionment of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives; the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and voting districts, as well as school districts; and the apportionment of federal dollars that every state is allocated on a yearly basis.

People have options to respond online or by phone in 12 non-English languages. In addition, guides will be available in 59 languages.

c.bessette@theday.com

k.drelich@theday.com

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