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Census workers visiting Michigan neighborhoods for address canvassing

A picture of an envelope containing a census
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Census data is in the mail

You could see canvassers from the Census Bureau in your neighborhood soon.

The Census Bureau is starting its first major field operation prior to the 2020 Census: address canvassing. Basically, the Census Bureau needs to verify people’s addresses so it can accurately send invitations to respond to and participate in the census. 

Lou Canfield is the city of Grand Rapids' Development Center Manager, and the Grand Rapids 2020 Complete Count Committee liaison. He works with that committee to ensure an accurate count from Grand Rapids.

“This is going to be happening in communities all over the country. So while it's possible people will encounter an address canvasser in the next week or so, it could be any time between now and the end of October,” he says.

He says neighborhoods selected for canvassing are going to be in scattered pockets throughout Grand Rapids and other cities.

“They're really scattered all over and they were selected based on a variety of factors, so where there's been a lot of recent development or redevelopment. Also the Census Bureau used satellite imagery to identify where there's been a lot of neighborhood change,” he says.

Canfield also says that residents should feel free to ask canvassers for identification confirming that they are, in fact, Census Bureau employees.

“They will have government-issued identification. They will be carrying laptops and tote bags that are clearly identified as Census Bureau," he says. “This is a preliminary process to ensure that everyone gets counted in the place where they live next March and April. That’s the actual census count, which is a vital process to ensure that Grand Rapids is represented adequately politically, and making sure we get the federal funding for vital local services.”

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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