Gov. Phil Murphy is concerned about New Jersey getting a thorough and accurate census count amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We absolutely worry about getting our fair share, a fair count and the fair resources in return from that,” he said Thursday. “So, whether delayed or not, it was a concern to begin with, and it remains a concern.”
President Donald Trump on Monday extended a suspension on census field operations that were set to resume this week.
Those operations won’t resume before June 1.
So far, New Jersey’s statewide response rate of roughly 50% is slightly higher than the national average, but urban counties in the state’s northeast, like Hudson and Essex, boast response rates in the low 40s.
Cape May County has a response rate below 23%.
It’s possible that a longer timeframe for census operations will get more New Jerseyans to self-report, the governor doesn’t think it will.
“I honestly don’t have a crisp answer as to whether or not adding several months to this has heightened that concern or not,” he said. “My gut tells me more time on the clock is probably not our friend in this case, but that’s a gut reaction. I’ve got no science to back that up.”