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Census 2020: Counting Colorado's Older Adult Population

A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that 56% of those 65 and older aren't comfortable with an online response and prefer to fill out a paper census form. (Pixabay)
A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that 56% of those 65 and older aren't comfortable with an online response and prefer to fill out a paper census form. (Pixabay)
February 13, 2020

DENVER -- Advocates for older Coloradans are working to ensure an accurate count in the upcoming once-a-decade tally, and the U.S. Census Bureau also is hoping to tap retirees willing to go door to door and make some money at the same time.

Lewis Thompson is doing his part through his work with the SAGE of the Rockies program, a welcoming space for Denver's older LGBTQ community. He says nearly 15% of U.S. residents are age 65 or older.

"And we need to make sure we're counted," he stresses. "The number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Electoral College votes for each state are both determined by census numbers."

Between March 12 and 20, a majority of households will get a postcard inviting them to fill out the census form online. Taking the census online is projected to save taxpayers more than $5 billion.

Those who don't respond online will then get a paper form by mail. If they still don't respond, census takers will knock on doors to make sure all people in the household show up on the final count.

In 2016, census data was tapped to distribute more than $675 billion to 300 federally funded programs, including Medicare Part B, and also for schools, roads, hospitals and more.

Thompson says the switch to an online-first approach by the Census Bureau is just one potential hurdle facing adults 65 and older.

"Limiting conditions and illnesses can lead to some of our older adults not being able to be counted," he points out. "The money determined by the census impacts programs important to our state's growing senior population."

The Census Bureau also is looking to older adults for help. In Colorado, hundreds of temporary jobs with flexible hours paying up to $22 an hour are up for grabs.

Be careful about replying to fake job offers from scammers hoping to steal Social Security numbers. To file an official application, visit 2020census.gov.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO