Hinesville census workers met with disrespect during follow-up visits

Local News

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – The deadline to make sure you are counted in the 2020 United States Census is less than 20 days away. Right now, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia has one of the lowest overall response rates in the country.

On Wednesday, 80.2 percent of households in the state had been counted by self-reporting their answers or by interacting with an enumerator.

Marilyn Stephens is the Assistant Regional Census Manager for the Atlanta Region. She says Georgia is behind other states because rising coronavirus cases prevented enumerators from safely going door-to-door.

South Georgia, especially, has a low response rate compared to the rest of the state.

Julia Wilkins, a census worker near Hinesville, says people have been disrespecting her when she goes door-to-door. She says some people have slammed doors in her face, and acted hostile and aggressively.

Despite the risk she is taking, she says it is worth it.

“Yes, it is dangerous and you never know who you’re going to run into, said Wilkins. “But if it helps the community out… involving the women men and the children — then, of course.”

Stephens says it is important citizens are respectful when they answer the door. Census workers may show up, even if you have already filled out the census.

“Even if you completed the census, we still may be coming back to do a quality check,” she explained. “We take a certain percent of online responses, a certain percent of phone responses, and a certain percent of mail-in responses and we interview them just to make sure and verify the information.”

It’s why census workers like Wilkins are now asking for civility, patience and understanding.

“The numerators are trying to do their job and go home to their family and be safe,” said Wilkins. “It only takes 10 minutes of their time to answer some questions.”

The deadline to submit your answers for the census is September 30. You can do so online, by mail, or by phone.

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