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  • (soft ambient music)

  • - [Narrator] As a global health emergency is taking hold,

  • America is moving forward

  • with its crucial once-a-decade census.

  • In March, the Census Bureau said an employee tested positive

  • for the new coronavirus.

  • The worker didn't have contact with the public,

  • but the incident is reinforcing the bureau's need

  • to collect information over the internet.

  • This isn't the bureau's only challenge

  • as it collects surveys.

  • The 2020 census has been on

  • the Government Accountability Office's watch list

  • for three years.

  • Those concerns, combined with pandemic-driven impediments,

  • could make 2020's count more difficult to execute,

  • but the count must move forward

  • because it is a foundational part of American governance.

  • - The census is very important

  • because it is the foundation of how political power

  • is distributed in this country.

  • And so, it's important to be counted,

  • and it's not just that people be included

  • but be included where they reside

  • so that political power can be equitably distributed

  • or accurately distributed.

  • - [Narrator] Here's how the new dynamics

  • are reshaping 2020's count.

  • This year, most households received a letter

  • rather than a complete census form in the mail.

  • - This is the first census in which there'll be

  • a widespread option to respond over the internet.

  • - [Narrator] That's because the census

  • wanted to move toward online response.

  • In light of the new coronavirus,

  • the bureau's reemphasizing the need to respond online

  • or by phone or by mail

  • without having to meet a census-taker.

  • This is the safest way to answer the census,

  • and that could prove crucial as the country hunkers down

  • to increase social distance

  • and limit the spread of the virus.

  • Online response will limit the amount

  • of in-person enumeration needed to count everyone,

  • which relates to another major challenge

  • facing 2020's census: staffing.

  • Staffing has been an ongoing area of concern

  • at the Census Bureau.

  • That problem becomes most visible at the local level.

  • - One of the things that's very important

  • is to look at the census down at almost a granular level,

  • a very local level.

  • That's what's gonna make or break the census.

  • - [Narrator] Only about two-thirds of the country

  • responded to the initial prompt for the 2010 census,

  • and those numbers vary at the local level.

  • For example, about 74% of Minnesotans

  • responded to the census's first request,

  • but some counties in the state had response rates below 40%.

  • Lower response rates mean that the Census Bureau

  • needs to send temporary workers to knock on doors

  • and request responses in person.

  • But the need to increase social distance

  • will make it harder to send field workers out

  • to track hard-to-reach populations

  • and others who don't respond.

  • For months, the Census Bureau struggled

  • to recruit enough temporary workers.

  • The GAO issued this chart in February

  • to show how far behind the bureau had fallen.

  • The Census Bureau disputed those findings,

  • saying that they effectively met their staffing goals,

  • but the bureau will still have to deal with

  • falling response rates.

  • That's because Americans in general

  • have become less likely to answer surveys.

  • - Each census that I've been involved with,

  • the bureau assumes a lower mail response rate

  • than they received in the preceding census,

  • in part because of just the complexity of counting people

  • in various living arrangements,

  • but in part because of reduction in trust.

  • - [Narrator] Which brings us to a third major challenge

  • facing 2020's census: trust.

  • In 2019, the Republican National Committee

  • sent a 2020 Congressional District Census

  • to a number of households.

  • It was not an official census.

  • The document asks about political preferences

  • and preferred news sources,

  • none of which are asked on the official census.

  • The questionnaire was also much longer

  • than the official census and asked respondents

  • to donate money to process the document.

  • As recently as March, the Trump campaign

  • promoted the misleading prompt on Facebook.

  • Facebook later removed the ads,

  • citing the company's census interference policy.

  • But experts say that the lingering effects

  • of confusing documents like this

  • could further depress response rates in the country.

  • Census forms started arriving in mailboxes in mid-March.

  • The bureau must report results to Congress

  • no later than December of 2020.

  • Some response timetables could be shaken up

  • as the bureau monitors the situation

  • and takes new guidance from public health authorities.

  • (soft ambient music)

(soft ambient music)

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B2 中上級 新型コロナウイルス 新型肺炎 COVID-19

コロナウイルスが国勢調査をさらに困難にしている理由|WSJ (Why Coronavirus Is Making the Census Even More Challenging | WSJ)

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    day に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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