The US Census Bureau released two tools to help Americans understand how they are conducting the 2020 Census: a Type of Enumeration Area (TEA) Viewer and profiles of the different outreach efforts needed in different demographic regions of the country.
An enumeration area, or EA, is the geographic area canvassed by one census operative for the purpose of collecting census data and maximizing census participation. The TEA viewer on the Census Bureau’s website depicts these enumeration areas and their expected response rates. There are four different types of enumeration areas: self – response, update leave, update enumerate, and remote Alaska.
Self – Response: the self – response type is designed to occur where the majority of houses or housing units have their mail delivered directly to the location. Ideally, and especially with the 2020 census being accessible online, it is expected that most responses, approximately 95%, will be self – response.
Update Leave: the update leave type is when mail is not delivered directly to the housing unit or the address cannot be verified. This accounts for approximately 4% of the population.
Update Enumerate: the update enumerate is designed to occur in areas where the initial visit requires enumerating while also updating the address. This type of enumeration will occur in areas that were part of the 2010 Census “Remote Update Enumerate Operation”, such as northern parts of Maine and southeast Alaska, as well as select American Indian areas that request to be enumerated in person during the initial visit.
Remote Alaska: this type of enumeration is designed to occur in areas where the initial visit requires enumerating while updating the address frame in remote geographic areas that have unique challenges associated with accessibility in Alaska.
Census Response Demographics
The Census Bureau broke down response groups into eight different demographic segments. Links to the Bureau’s profile pages and brief summaries are below.
- Responsive Suburbia: Accounting for approximately 24% of the US population, this demographic is distinguished by high median household incomes, single family or married couples, and a large proportion of college-educated residents. On average, this population segment has high response rates, with most of those responses coming online.
- Main Street Middle: Found in small towns and less densely populated neighborhoods surrounding urban centers, this demographic segment accounts for 21% of the US population and expected response rate. Having a higher percentage of residents 65 years or older, this tract tends to be less diverse than the national average but has higher than average census response rates than the rest of the nation, most of which will be online responses.
- Country Roads: As the name suggests, this population segment is found in more rural areas, near small towns and outside the suburbs of major cities and represents about 16% of the population. A large proportion of this tract are owner-occupied housing units (not renting or leasing), a below-average median household income, and a below average proportion of college-educated residents. While their predicted response style will also be online, they are expected to have a below-average response rate.
- Downtown Dynamic: Found in densely populated urban areas and accounting for about 9% of the US population, tracts in this segment have high median household incomes, high percentages of college-educated residents, above-average percentages of foreign-born residents, and a larger proportion of residents 25 to 44 than the national average. Their responses are expected to perform slightly below the national average and to be submitted online.
- Student and Military Communities: Making up 2% of the population and with a below average response rate, this tract is made up mostly of residents between the ages of 18 and 24 with a high percentage of college-educated residents and renter or group occupied housing units.
- Sparse Spaces: Tracts in this segment are predominantly found in the western US, Appalachia, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and northern Maine. It makes up 5% of the US population with a higher percentage of residents over the age of 45. The online response rate is expected to be lower than the national average seeing as these areas often have below-average access to internet.
- Multicultural Mosaic: Concentrated in urban areas, California’s Central Valley, and parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Florida, this population tract accounts for 14% of the US population and is expected to have a below-average general response rate and a below-average online response rate. Having a relatively high concentration of foreign-born citizens, a majority of which are Hispanic, there are also lower percentages of college-educated residents in this segment.
- Rural Delta and Urban Enclaves: Tracts in this segment can be found in rural parts of the southeastern United States, including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, with additional concentrations in urban areas. With low median household incomes and below-average access to the internet, the 7% of the US population making up this demographic segment is expected to have a low response rate and the lowest percentage of online responses. The majority of these residents are non-Hispanic African Americans.
Due to the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus, it is even more essential that the census be filled out promptly and with as little human contact as possible. With online access and self-response, completing the census is easier than ever and allows for proper reapportionment and representation. Please visit my2020census.gov to fill out your 2020 Census questionnaire if you, or someone in your household, has not done so already.