Census forms in the mail; officials urge attention

While the world is practically on lockdown to help slow down the spread of coronavirus, Salisbury and Wicomico County officials hope residents will use part of their confinement time to fill out their 2020 Census forms. 

The forms were mailed out last week to homes all over the country in advance of National Census Day on April 1. 

Census data is used to determine how much federal money is sent to each city, county and state to help pay for schools, roads, fire departments, parks and playgrounds, senior centers and other important services, said Julia Glanz, Salisbury’s City Manager and co-chair of the Salisbury-Wicomico Complete Count Committee.

“It touches every component of everybody’s life,” she said.

Salisbury Mayor Jake Day wrote on Facebook of the importance of the Census: “While you have some downtime, consider this: Every undercounted person in our community, the Federal Government estimates that we lose $1,091 per year in federal benefits. Considering our rate of undercount in 2010, just in the City of Salisbury, in the last 10 years, we lost $115, 209,600.”

During the last Census in 2010, only 69 percent of local residents were counted which meant lost dollars for the city and county, Glanz said.

Due to the statewide coronavirus precautions, the Complete Count Committee has canceled an event on March 28. In Salisbury, officials had planned events in five neighborhood locations with hot dogs, music and games, as well as door-to-door canvassing to promote the completion of the Census forms. Glanz said the events could be rescheduled later.

Meanwhile, the committee plans to get the word out through advertising. The city and county each received $20,000 for media buys and will pool their resources to buy television and radio ads.

“We’re going to be flooding the market,” Glanz said.

Once residents receive their Census forms in the mail, they can either fill them out and mail them back, or go to  my2020census.gov and complete the questionnaire online.

The Census takes place every 10 years in the United States to get a complete count of all citizens. Answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics.

The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect answers and keep them strictly confidential. The law ensures that private information is never published and that answers cannot be used against anyone by any government agency or court.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

Have a question about the coronavirus? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll ask the appropriate public officials.


As your community newspaper, we are committed to making Salisbury a better place. You can help support our mission by making a voluntary contribution to the newspaper.