Rolla: Census 2020 Update

Rolla City Planner Tom Coots
The Rolla Daily News

It is not too late to respond to the 2020 Census. Just over 56% of the households in Rolla have already self-responded by mail, phone or online. However, this means that there are many who still have not self-responded. Self-response is particularly important this year, as COVID-19 has had impacts to how the Census is collected. Timelines have been adjusted and re-adjusted. The final date for self-response is now Sept. 30. 

The Census has hired many local temporary employees as enumerators who will personally visit households that have not responded. The door-to-door enumeration is currently under way. However, the change in timelines, lower than needed Census temporary worker applications, and the lower self-response rate means that Rolla and Phelps County are in danger of being undercounted in the 2020 Census. 

The Census figures are very important for local funding from the state and federal governments. Undercounting the population costs the area funding. The Census is also used for determining representation in the US House of Representatives. Undercounting can also cost the area representation in the legislature, as happened during the 2010 Census. 

By this point, all households in Rolla and Phelps County who have not self-responded should have received several invitations in the mail. If you have not responded, please do so as soon as you can. Persons living in group quarters such as dorms and nursing homes will still be counted by other means. 

Census enumerators have already, or will soon, begun to visit the households that have not yet responded. A Census worker will have Census clothing, a Census ID, and will use a tablet to collect your response. They will not ask for money. They will only ask the questions on the official Census questionnaire. If you are concerned about a person’s legitimacy, please call the police. If you are concerned that a Census worker will visit your home, please self-respond to the Census. 

The census questionnaire does not ask any questions about income, citizenship status, religion, or political affiliation. Information is protected by law and cannot be used against you. They do ask for a phone number in case they need to call you with any questions about your responses. The Census Bureau does not request any donation or payment for processing.

You can still participate, even if you are currently homeless. To self-respond, please visit to complete the questionnaire online. Call 844-330-2020 to complete the questionnaire by phone. Visit the Census website for assistance with participating in other languages. 

The Rolla Public Library will be able to assist anyone who has questions or needs access to a computer once the library reopens.