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Census Bureau modifies operations to make sure everyone is counted

Posted March 16, 2020

Archived Content Information and links provided may no longer be accurate.

The U.S. Census Bureau continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities. Some operations will be adjusted with two key principles in mind: protecting the health and safety of census staff and the public and fulfilling the statutory requirement to deliver the 2020 Census counts on schedule.

As of March 15, more than 5 million have responded online to the 2020 Census. Currently, the planned completion date for data collection for the 2020 Census is July 31, but that date can be adjusted if necessary as the situation evolves in order to achieve a complete and accurate count.

It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker.

These are some of the adjustments being made:

  • College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of the Group Quarters Operation, which counts all students living in university-owned housing. In addition to college dormitories, the Group Quarters Operation also includes places like nursing homes, group homes, halfway houses and prisons.
  • The bureau is working with service providers at emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens and regularly schedule mobile food vans to adapt plans to count the populations they serve.
  • The start of the Mobile Questionnaire Assistance program is being delayed. The bureau plans to offer assistance with responding to the 2020 Census at events and locations where people naturally gather. The program will now start across the country on April 13, delaying from the previously planned start of March 30.
  • The Early Nonresponse Follow-up operation has been delayed. In this operation, census takers begin following up with households that haven’t responded yet. The start of this effort is being delayed from April 9 to April 23.

The Census Bureau will continue to monitor the situation, take appropriate steps in consultation with public health authorities and provide updates.

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