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Hard-to-Count Communities

Hard-to-count populations can include those who are hard to locate, like households that may not appear on our address list or people who may want to remain hidden. Some populations are hard to contact because they are highly mobile, experiencing homelessness or living in gated communities. Hard-to-count populations can be those that are hard to persuade because they lack trust in the government and the way their data will be used. They can also be hard to interview because of language barriers or low internet access.

Hard-to-count populations can fall into many categories. These include:

  • Young children under the age of five.
  • Highly mobile people.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Non-English speakers.
  • Low income people.
  • People experiencing homelessness.
  • Undocumented immigrants.
  • People who distrust the government.
  • LGBTQ persons.
  • People with mental or physical disabilities.
  • Renters
  • People who do not live in traditional housing.


Maps and Tools to Identify Hard to Count Communities

A critical step to ensure that everyone is counted is to identify and conduct outreach to hard-to-count populations.  Currently, there are two tools available that compute a hard-to-count score for identifying hard-to-count neighborhoods

10 Locations with the highest predicted number of non-respondents in Montgomery County.

Rank Location Number
1. Germantown 18,083
2. Wheaton 12,213
3. Downtown Silver Spring 11,396
4. Montgomery Village 8,245
5. Long Branch 8,897
6. Fairland 5,647
7. White Oak & Hillandale 6,504
8. Redland 5,647
9. Clarksburg 4,337
10. Burtonsville & Ashton-Sandy Spring 4,559

Response Outreach Area Mapper

The Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM) application was developed to make it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas and to provide a socioeconomic and demographic characteristic profile of these areas using American Community Survey (ACS) estimates available in the Planning Database. Learning about each hard-to-survey area allows the U.S. Census Bureau to create a tailored communication and partnership campaign, and to plan for field resources including hiring staff with language skills.  More information here (pdf).

roam application screenshot

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Hard to County Map
  • Montgomery County Hard to Count Maps (PDF)
  • ROAM Application fact Sheet

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