Berlin nearing 80% in completing census, town shooting for much higher rate

Published on Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:22
Written by MATT HORNICK

@MNHornick

Berlin is staying way ahead of the Connecticut’s census response rate.

The state average is 66.4%, while Berlin has a rate of 79.6% as of July 28.

“80% is good, but we are still not happy with it; we want to get to the upper-90’s if possible,” Berlin Town Manager Arosha Jayawickrema said.

Jayawickrema said the high response rate is a product of the city’s efforts to spread information about filling out the census and its importance.

“We put posters in the fire departments, supermarkets, shopping areas that are asking people to take the census, where to go [to fill it out] and how to do it,” Jayawickrema said. “We also included, in pretty much every communication we’ve made during covid-19 to the town, information about the 2020 census and how to do that. Of course we have a section on the homepage of our town website as well.”

Getting the final 20% of submissions will require a different approach from the town. Census workers are going door to door to assist people yet to complete the census and Jayawickrema said he might consider an automatic phone call go out to all Berlin residents reminding them to fill out the census.

Jayawickrema also added Berlin has a more “transient population” that takes up residence at motels on the Berlin Turnpike and there are social service workers attempting to get in touch with them.

“Federal fund allocation for the next 10 years is based on the census count,” Jayawickrema said. “If you get funding because of the census from the federal government, it helps all the services we provide, especially with social services and education. It lessens the burden on the local taxpayers. The most important thing is if we don’t get the numbers in, it affects not just one year, but the next 10 years.”



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:22. Updated: Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:25.