Despite the pandemic, the 2020 Census is still well underway and the count will now continue until October 31, 2020.But don’t wait until Halloween to get counted — with so much changing so often these days, earlier is still better to help our communities avoid the real-life fright of being undercounted, underfunded and underserved as we have been in the past.
As we’re now seeing with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, having enough hospital beds and resources for health care and economic recovery counts. Fortunately, it typically takes just five to ten minutes to help our communities get what we need for the next ten years and beyond. Each of us as individuals benefits the most when everyone around us gets counted, so whether you’ve already been counted and are looking for more information to tell your friends and family, or whether you’re still trying to figure out how to get counted, here’s what you need to know about what’s going on with the 2020 Census.
Haven’t heard from the Census Bureau yet? By now, nearly everyone should have received one or more invitations to respond to the census as well as a paper census form. But around five percent of households in areas where most people don’t receive mail at home may have been impacted by coronavirus-related changes to the Bureau’s “Update Leave” operation, which was suspended in March but is being phased back in beginning the week of May 4th. For the time being, Census Bureau employees in personal protective equipment (PPE) will be leaving census forms at front doors in those communities without knocking or interacting with residents to protect public health.
If you’ve been missed, don’t have a permanent address, or if you’ve lost your invitation, don’t worry! You can complete what’s called a “non-ID response” online via this link or by phone at 844-330-2020. (The operator will ask for your ID; let them know you don’t have it and you can just confirm your address). If you’re helping someone who needs to complete the census with TDD or in a language other than English, you can find additional numbers here, and in-language support here.
Confused about who to count on your census form, or where you should be counted? Everybody counts. If you’ve got questions about how to count your folks in blended families or other folks who live with you sometimes, you can learn more here. Note that if you or someone who’s staying with you temporarily has no other permanent address, that person should be counted where you/they are staying right now. If you or someone staying with you have moved recently because of COVID-19 (or anything else), you should be counted wherever you plan to live going forward. If you’re going back to your original address or community, get counted at that address. If you’re planning to stay where you are now, get counted where you currently live.
Already filled out the census, but wondering why you’re still getting Census Bureau mail? Because mail delivery has been somewhat delayed by COVID, it’s likely that the census mailing was mailed to you before you completed your form and arrived afterward. If you’ve already been counted, you can ignore those reminder letters. But be sure to remind your neighbors, friends and family to complete theirs!