Go online and be counted

April 21, 2020

It’s now a month since the governor issued stay-at-home restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Frontline workers are surely fighting exhaustion, but many among us are battling boredom. 

Which makes it a great time to go to and be counted. If you’re dreading a long census questionnaire, don’t be. 

For the first time, the census can be completed online, by mail or by phone – and it usually takes less than 10 minutes.

In July 2019, Delaware’s population was estimated at 974,000.

If we all stand up and get counted, our 2020 population may take us closer to 1 million.

The census has produced an interactive map to show how we’re doing at voluntarily completing the census, or self-response. The alternative to self-response is the expensive process of census workers coming out to find us.

The map shows that nationally, the self-response rate tops 50 percent of all housing units. 

Delaware lags behind at 48 percent. 

Looking deeper, the map shows New Castle County leads Delaware at a 52 percent self-response rate, while in Kent, it’s just over 50 percent.

In Sussex County, meanwhile, the rate doesn’t even hit 41 percent. That’s 41 percent of all housing units, so the large number of second homes in coastal Sussex is a likely factor, but a low response rate is still a problem.

The census is an effort to count every person in the United States. The results are used in distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds across the country each year – dollars spent on healthcare, housing, education, transportation and employment in every community across the country. 

Milton leads the way in Sussex, with about 60 percent of residents already self-responding. Lewes residents trail at 36 percent while less than 13 percent of Rehoboth housing units have self-reported. Dewey Beach is in single digits.

Even with lots of unoccupied second homes, these numbers are disappointing.

It’s critical for everyone to get counted. On the plus side, anyone who goes on the census website is likely to find enough to avoid boredom for at least a week.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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