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Census Bureau adapts operations to ensure everyone is counted

Posted Aug. 14, 2020

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a census taker conversing with someone while wearing a mask
The Census Bureau requires that census takers wear a mask while conducting their work. They will follow CDC and local public health guidelines when they visit.

As the U.S. Census Bureau continues to monitor the impacts COVID-19 has on 2020 Census operations, changes to operations are being deployed to ensure the safety of staff and the public while maximizing the number of households that respond on their own to the 2020 Census.

More than 63.5% of households have responded to the 2020 Census. People can still respond online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker. The Census Bureau will follow up with some nonresponding households by phone.

In order to supplement its capabilities to send census takers to households in person, the Census Bureau is training census takers to follow up with households by phone. Using information provided to the Census Bureau and third-party purchased data, the Census Bureau has a strong contact list for both landlines and cellphones assigned to houses on the Census Bureau’s address list. These phone calls will enable the Census Bureau to have maximum flexibility for conducting field operations, and is one more method that census takers can use to reach nonresponding households. If a voicemail is available, the census taker will leave a message asking the household to call one of the Census Bureau’s call centers.

Census takers will continue to follow up with nonresponding households in person, and will follow Centers for Disease Control and local public health guidelines when they visit.

The Census Bureau is sending a seventh mailing, including a paper questionnaire, in late August to early September to the lowest-responding census tracts.

The Census Bureau recently announced that households in low-responding areas would be receiving emails to encourage response to the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau recently also launched Mobile Questionnaire Assistance, a program that offers assistance with responding at locations, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, in low-responding areas.

Additionally, the Census Bureau has expanded its paid advertising, launching a series of new advertisements aimed at increasing online response.

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