2020 census

Hartford Census Rates Remain Low

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There's a nationwide push to get every American to complete their census form.

The city of Hartford has one of the lowest response rates in the Northeast, and the Hartford Public Library is trying to change that, taking their efforts out into the community.

The library has launched a "Call Five" initiative to spread the word.

"We are inviting anyone in the city of Harford to call five of their family members or neighbors or friends and invite them to complete the Census, or remind them to complete the Census if they have not done so already," Leticia Cotto of the Hartford Public Library explained.

Right now, less than half of Hartford's residents have completed the Census. The city's self-response rate is the lowest in the New York region of cities with more than 100,000 people.

Library staff is trying to get residents to understand why the short form is so important, especially now.

"Through these numbers, we are able to then get federal funding, representation for our city, federal funding for things that are very important for our city around infrastructure, school lunches, anything that has to do with education," Cotto explained.

Library On Wheels trucks are going to different communities three days a week, and along with giving out books, they show residents how to complete the census. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Elizabeth Rivera works with the Library on Wheels. She said she's spent time helping undocumented residents, who are also allowed to complete the census, feel comfortable about participating without fear of trouble.

"We give them the pamphlet and then we give it to them in Spanish. Then we explain to them they have no worries because they will not be persecuted if they participate in the census," Rivera explained.

The city has Census assistance in multiple languages. The goal for now is to spread the word, to make sure every person in the Capital City is represented.

"If people don’t complete their census now, it’ll be another 10 years before we're able to access the services or their funds that will help us," Cotto said.

You can call the library at 860-695-6300 for more information about completing the Census online, by phone or by mail. They can also direct you to the Library on Wheels locations and times.

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