April 1 is Census Day. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020. The 2020 Census is on mission to promote an accurate count. As of March 18, more than 11 million people have responded online to the 2020 Census.
Response is important because statistics from the census are used in distributing where hundreds of billions in funding for school lunches, hospitals, roads and much more. The invitations will remind respondents to include everyone living in the household, whether they are related or not. This includes young children. Your response will impact communities for the next decade.
By now, most households will have already received an invitation delivered either by mail or by a census taker. In areas of the country that are less likely to respond online, a paper questionnaire will be included in the initial mailing to households. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond, and in the fourth mailing every household that has not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire.
On March 18, the Census Bureau suspended field operations for two weeks out of concern about the health and safety of its workers and the U.S. public from the novel coronavirus.
The U.S. Census Bureau continues to carefully monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities. The Census Bureau if adjusting operations to make sure college students are counted.
College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of our 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.
In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted as part of this process. Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. We are asking schools to contact their students and remind them to respond.
Once households receive invitations, please respond to the 2020 Census by using the provided Census ID. If a household is unable to enter the Census ID people can still respond, by providing an address. Whether people respond online, by phone or by mail, the Census Bureau notes that it’s important to respond right away.
Below is a timeline of how and when the Census Bureau will invite households to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire:
- March 12-20: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.
- March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.
- March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded.
- April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded.
- April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person.
If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person sometime between May 13 and July 31. This however may change. The Census Bureau will continue to monitor the situation, take appropriate steps in consultation with public health authorities and provide ongoing updates.
The 2020 Census questionnaire is available online and by phone in English and 12 additional languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. These 13 languages cover the language needs of over 99% of all U.S. households. To help ensure a complete count of everyone, the Census Bureau will also provide video language guides, print language guides and language glossaries in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, Braille, and Large Print.
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years.
For more information about the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov.