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In southern WV, technology slows Census progress


The Register-Herald

Fernando Armstron, regional director U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau, speaks during the census campaign kickoff at the office in Beckley.
(Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 23rd U.S. Census in 2020 will be the first in history to rely heavily on technology, but a multi-step online application process and fear of the federal government is making it more difficult to find local workers and to get residents motivated to be counted, a Census Bureau regional director said Tuesday.

“We are fully on board with being able for the first time to do a Census that is heavily dependent and heavily assisted by technology,” said Fernando Armstrong, regional director for the Census Bureau office in Philadelphia, which oversees nine states, including West Virginia. “That also brings some challenges.

“I am encouraged by the way technology is working and the fact that, with some of these things, we have evidence that it can work,” he said. “I am concerned with the public reaction and the public’s willingness to be on the Census.”

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