Detroit Extends Census Canvassing Into October As Deadline Shifts

A court order extended the deadline to finish the decennial count to Oct. 31st, but census officials — who originally cut a month off the count — argued in favor of violating the order.

The City of Detroit will use an extension of the Census deadline to improve its low response rate. So far, just over 50% of Detroit residents have responded to the census.

“Take 10 minutes and fill it out. Because you know we get one shot at this every 10 years.” — Victoria Kovari, U.S. Census

Last week, a federal judge had pushed back the Trump Administration response deadline from September 30th to – at least – October 31st. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that the count will end October 5th, but that would be in violation of a court order.

“We still need everybody who hasn’t filled out that form,” says Victoria Kovari, who is leading the census effort in the city. “Take 10 minutes and fill it out. Because you know we get one shot at this every 10 years.”

Funding for federal programs are partially tied to census data. 

“Millions of dollars are at stake for programs that people in the city depend on: Medicaid, money for hospitals, money for schools, money for food assistance, all that is subsidized by the federal government and all that is based in part on population,” Kovari says.

Volunteers will use the extra month to continue their door-to-door efforts in Midtown and Southwest Detroit – which has a high concentration of immigrants – where response rates have been especially low.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.