As the 2020 Census count continues, Maine has one of the lowest response rates so far, at just over 50 percent.
But U.S. Census Regional Director Jeff Behler says that is not a surprise in a rural state like Maine, where nearly 14 percent of people receive their census forms by hand-delivery rather than through the mail. Many likely have not yet received these forms.
“It is different the way we conduct operations state-by-state, and that's why the self-response rates are behind other states and behind the national average at this point,” Behler says.
He says the process of hand-delivering the census forms started March 15 and was interrupted two days later by Covid 19.
“We've just restarted that operation. We got into the field on May 8, and we'll continue to hand-deliver these packages until we reach all the addresses in that operation.”
Maine is also one of only two states, as well as some tribal areas, where census takers go to people's homes to interview them. This happens in some of the most remote areas of the state.
Because of the problems being caused by the pandemic, the deadline for people to respond has been postponed to October 31.