Wrangell’s census response rate, August 17, 2020.
(Screenshot from 2020census.gov reporting website.)

U.S. Census counters are out and about in Wrangell this week, trying to gather information about every man, woman and child in the community. They’re visiting households that in most cases haven’t yet responded by mail or online. 

The response rate for Wrangell’s households is currently less than 40%. That’s lower than the state average and many other Southeast communities, including Juneau, Petersburg, and Ketchikan.

That’s worryingly low, local officials say.

Wrangell’s Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore says responding to the census workers is important because the community’s official population count helps it leverage federal and state funding. 

Rushmore explained in an email that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the process, and that some households who answered census questions this spring might need to re-submit census information. That’s because census questions can’t be matched up to a physical address without the 10-digit census code, which wasn’t sent out until late May.

The bottom line, she says? Answer the door if a census worker knocks. It’s vital that everyone in Wrangell is counted.

Get in contact with KSTK at news@kstk.org or (907) 874-2345.