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The City of Minot’s efforts to promote the 2020 Census were off to a good start – until the coronavirus pandemic forced many changes.
Now, Brian Billingsley, community and economic development director, is hoping to restart the public relations efforts to help Minot reach the 50,000 population level. Reaching the 50,000 mark, Billingsley told City Council members on March 18, would make Minot eligible for additional federal funds and boost the city’s opportunities to become home to national business chains that use population as one guideline to where they’ll locate stores.
Before pandemic began, the City’s Complete Count Committee had deployed three mobile kiosks that provided an opportunity for residents to fill out the Census form online. Those kiosks haven’t been used since the COVID-19 spread began, but there are other ways the City will continue to push the importance of reaching 50,000.
Moving forward, Billingsley said the committee will use its remaining resources to purchase radio and social media advertising, water bill inserts, grocery store inserts, pizza box stickers, and advertising on City of Minot buses and sanitation trucks. Billingsley said they also hope to begin using the kiosks again, placing them at grocery stores, food banks, soup kitchens, churches, and other locations.
Because of the pandemic, some census activities were delayed, and changes have been made to deadlines. Enumerators were scheduled to begin going door-to-door on May 11, but that process won’t start until Aug. 11. In addition, the deadline to respond to the census, originally July 31, has been moved to Oct. 31.
“The good news is we still have five and a half months to get these people counted – the ones who have not signed up yet – so we have a lot of time in front of us,” Billingsley said.
Minot’s response rate as of May 18 was 62.3 percent, ahead of the national average of 58.8 percent. Some 89 percent of Minot responses were completed online. Ward County’s overall response rate was 60.51 percent on May 18.
There are three ways to complete the census form: