Census workers denied access to gated community: Is this a nationwide epidemic?
Do the residents and managers of gated communities feel that they are above being counted by the 2010 Census? First off, I’m admittedly not a fan of gated communities, because the whole percieved safety of them doesn’t mesh with how safe residents actually are. Secondly, to think that a whole segment of the population feels that they are above enumerators counting them is irritating. (Yes, this is also a problem in places like New York City where doormen and building superintendents turn enumerators away). Here’s an article from the Miami Herald that discusses the problem in Florida:
Census workers denied entry into gated community
Census workers were denied entry to a gated community in Aventura, highlighting a problem that the Census Bureau says it encounters nationwide.
BY JARED GOYETTE
On at least one occasion in the last month, U.S. Census workers were denied access to a gated community in Aventura, underlying a challenge faced by the Census Bureau as it seeks to count residents in wealthy communities.
“Gated communities can pose a problem,” said Aventura Vice Mayor Luz Weinberg, who has done extensive outreach for the Census in South Florida. “It has more to do with the security staff not knowing any better.”
On May 7, a Facebook user posted a comment on the page of the City of Aventura Blog alleging that Census workers — who go door-to-door to collect Census information from residences that have not mailed back forms — were denied entry to Country Club Estates, 20000 East Country Club Dr.
Adley Joseph, the guard on duty at Country Club Estates, confirmed that he had told Census workers they could not enter the property.
“This is a very private neighborhood, we are very strict about who we let in,” he said.
Property manager Liliana Matznick said it was Country Club Estates policy to let in Census workers and that several had accessed the community in recent weeks. She said she would follow up with the security company to determine what happened.
Weinberg said it is important for property managers to alert security staff that Census workers may need access.
“Property managers need to be on board and know how the Census works,” Weinberg said. “And security staff, while still following their safety regulations, need to be aware, too. The census workers show up with I.D., these are trained people.”
Aventura is lagging behind its participation rate in the 2000 Census. For that Census, 61 percent of Aventura residents responded, compared to 69 percent in Florida and 72 percent nationwide.
According to the Census Bureau website, Aventura currently has a 53 percent rate of participation in the mailed Census, which is 19 percent below this year’s national rate of 72 percent. A downturn in participation could have consequences for the city, as federal funds that help pay for things like hospitals, schools and emergency services are tied to the census count.
Pam Page-Bellis, regional spokeswoman for the Census Bureau, said that the agency had anticipated that gated communities would be a problem.
Staff with local Census offices have reached out to property managers to make sure Census workers are allowed to do their jobs.
“Gated communities have always presented a real challenge nationwide,” she said.
“South Florida is no exception. We hope that we can work with the management and gain access so that everybody gets counted,” Page-Bellis said.