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‘Hard to count’ populations and the U.S. Census

‘Hard to count’ populations and the U.S. Census


Did you know the answers you provide to the U.S. Census are used only to produce statistics? You are kept anonymous; the Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Every U.S Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.  

Confidentiality is imperative for an accurate count, especially for some who are considered “hard to count” (HTC.) HTC populations are those for whom a real or perceived barrier exists to full and representative inclusion in the data collection process. Some examples of commonly HTC populations include people experiencing homelessness, historically marginalized groups, nomadic peoples, and more.

Groups of people may be HTC for four main reasons: they are hard to locate, hard to contact, hard to persuade, or hard to interview. Unfortunately, this means these very groups are at risk of being underrepresented in the count; the result is inefficient allocation of public resources. Strictest confidentiality is essential to helping mitigate mistrust and ensuring communities receive the full benefit of an accurate count.

For Census data collection Plainville is divided into four tracts. In the 2010 Census, one of those four tracts experienced a high Low Response Score; that means more than 20% of households did not self-respond to the Census.

As of April 12, Plainville’s residents reached a 54.2% self-response rate. As of that same day the national rate was 48.1%; Connecticut – 49.9%; Farmington – 58.3%; Southington – 60.6%; Bristol – 53.0%; and New Britain 41.4%.

Plainville is working to improve self-response over 2010 rates. If you know someone who fits the description of a hard-to-count person, the town asks that you encourage them to self-respond. It is safe, easy, and important and the entire community benefits.

-- Press Release