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Derecho Doesn't Deter The Census

Michael Leland
The derecho ripped a tree from the ground on the Grinnell College campus. Many Iowans suffered damage to their homes due to tree damage. Some lost their roofs.

Last week's derecho caused havoc in the state of Iowa, pushing one thing to the back of many people’s minds: the 2020 Census. The Iowa Complete Count Committee says it is working on to ensure all Iowans, even those displaced, are accounted for.

The Iowa Complete Count Committee, led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, expressed concern for Iowans who lost their homes during the derecho storms and whether or not that will affect Iowa’s numbers in the census.

Kassidy Arena
The Complete Count Committee met over Zoom on Wednesday. Sam Fetting, the U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Coordinator for Iowa, shared the updated deadlines for census operations.

The U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Coordinator Sam Fettig said he is confident the census will still be accurately completed.

“But we do still have time we believe to get that complete count, to get to everyone. And just to be clear, so those who are in shelters, temporarily displaced, should still be counted at their place of usual residence," Fettig said.

According to Fettig, the bureau has a plan to make sure those who lost their homes are still counted. Linn County, one of the hardest hit by derecho, has a 72.9 percent response rate.

“We’ll work with the local disaster response teams, charities, nonprofits that are working with those displaced people to make sure we get them counted and in the right place," Fettig said.

Iowa right now ranks as No. 6 for self-response for the 2020 Census. Lt. Gov. Gregg said without football, the Big Ten will compete over census responses. Fighting in the top ten slots for census responses are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines