Census curtails in-person visits amid threat from virus


Even as the next U.S. Census is underway, the Census Bureau has released the latest population estimates, and Wood County has grown by another 382 residents.

The figures, released last week, are from the July 2019 population estimates, which are the last that will be released until the current census figures are tabulated.

Wood County had 41,964 residents as of April 1, 2010, the last census. The latest estimate places the county’s population at 45,539 for a gain of 3,575 in nine years.

Much of the gain has been in the past three years, with increases of 636 in the 2016 estimate, 510 in the 2017 estimate and 896 in the 2018 estimate.

As the 2020 census continues, the bureau has released the number of residents that have completed the census.

The national average as of last week was 28.1% with the state average 23.9%.

Some 25.4% of Wood County households had completed the census by mail, phone or online.

Participation in Quitman was 28.7%, with 28.3% in Mineola and 26.2% in Winnsboro.

Yantis residents had turned in 24.1% of the censuses sent to households with Alba at 16.2% and Hawkins at 15.8%.

Local officials have been stressing the importance of filling out the census as the figures will impact numerous federal programs for the next decade.

An undercount could leave the county short, as the last census saw Wood County with an undercount estimated at upwards of 20% in some areas.

The Census Bureau has also announced that it is suspending in-house visits for the time being in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

In-house visits customarily follow when households don’t respond to the initial questionnaire and follow-up mailings.