Census address canvassing begins in Casper

(Photo courtesy of the United States Census Bureau)

CASPER, Wyo. — Address canvassing efforts are underway in Casper as local organizers prepare for the 2020 United States Census.

“This first major field operation has begun and will continue through Mid-October, so address canvassers are now out and about,” Caitlyn Skavdahl with Casper’s Complete Count Committee says.

The Casper canvassing begins alongside efforts nationwide.

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“Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census,” the Census Bureau said on Aug. 12. “The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States.”

The Casper Complete Count Committee hopes to ensure that everyone in community is counted in the up-coming Census. They say there are no risks to answering questions from canvassers.

The committee is particularly focused on North Casper as obtaining complete counts in this area has been a challenge historically.

About 65% of addresses are able to be verified using satellite imagery and new software called “Block Assessment, Research and Classification Application,” according to the Census Bureau.

“It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census Bureau employees to spot new housing developments, changes in existing homes and other housing units that did not previously exist,” they say. “Reviewers also use BARCA to compare the number of housing units in current imagery with the number of addresses on file for each block.”

That technology reduces the number of people needed to verify addresses.

“’In 2010 we had to hire 150,000 people to verify 100% of the addresses in the field, this decade we will only have to hire about 40,000 employees around the nation to verify the remaining 35% of addresses.’” Census Bureau Geography Division Chief Deirdre Bishop said during a press conference regarding the canvassing.

Canvassers are walking around neighborhoods in Casper and across the country to check addresses that the technology is unable to verify.

“To help identify address listers, employees will have badges and briefcases indicating their affiliation with the Census Bureau,” they say. “They will knock on doors and ask a few simple questions to verify the address and any additional living quarters on the property for inclusion in the census.”

People can also ask canvassers to show other photo identification to confirm their identities.

“This operation is one of several activities the Census Bureau conducts for an accurate and complete count,” the announcement adds. “The Census Bureau also partners with the U.S. Postal Service and tribal, state and local officials to update the address list.”

The official 2020 U.S. Census counting begins in January in Alaska. Most households can expect to receive response invitations “online, by phone or by mail in March 2020.”

The Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and must be held every ten years.

“Census data is used to determine  the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads and businesses,” the Census Bureau says.

Skavdahl says that she thinks there has been a good number of people apply to help with the up-coming Census in the Casper area, but adds that people can apply for positions online.