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The Census and Coronavirus

Have you taken the census yet? 

This is my favorite question to ask my friends, family, co-workers, and colleagues across the country when checking in on them as they work or stay at home. In these times of uncertainty and physical distancing, standing together with our communities is more important than ever. And it is so easy to take the census right from your own home.  

There are three ways that you can fill out the 2020 Census questionnaire, and all of the ways are compliant with social distancing protocols.  

Via the Internet 

New to census operations is a major push for everyone to enter their information online. Using the barcode that came on your most recent census mailer, everyone is able to use their smartphones, tablets, and computers to enter the information about those living in their household. Just visit 2020census.gov to get started!  

Via the Phone

For English speakers, you can get started answering the census by calling 844-330-2020. Don’t speak English? Not a problem! The U.S. Census Bureau also offers language assistance via phone for 12 non-English languages and offers translated web pages and guides in 59 languages.  

Via Paper Form 

The traditional way of filling out the census, paper forms can be completed and mailed back to counted by Census Bureau staff. Make sure to enter the information for everyone living in your household, including children, and mail the form back in the supplied envelope. 

Answering the census is easy! And it’s something you can do right from your couch, a safe distance from everyone outside of your home.

Your vote matters. Your voice matters. Your census matters.

COVID-19 and the Census

While Census forms continue to be collected and counted, the Bureau has postponed or suspended operations around in-person survey collection in hard-to-count communities. Depending on guidance from the CDC, they may also delay the deployment of enumerators hired to go door-to-door and collect outstanding survey data from houses that have not completed the survey online, via phone, or by mail. There are still ways for these communities to participate in the census—online, by mail, or by phone—and the League continues to monitor how the census plans to ensure hard to count communities still get included. 

The Census Bureau is being incredibly transparent about the decisions they are making around their operational plan. They continue to hold stakeholder calls, brief officials, and issue guidance to partner organizations who are helping to get out the count! The census timeline is mandated by federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Census Bureau is doing everything in their power to help those living in the United States, fill out their questionnaires in the appropriate timeframe. 

Completing the census is about collecting the necessary information to determine funding for our community needs. Census data is used to distribute billions of dollars in funding that goes to ensure that public safety, health facilities, businesses, and communities have the resources they need to take care of their communities. The League is a partner of the Census Counts Campaign which has issued digital guidance on how to turn in-person events into digital ones for those participating in Get Out the Count activities! We have also built out a robust census action kit for individuals and Leagues to use when helping get out the count.  

The most important thing we can do right now is to submit the questionnaire via one of the three ways we’ve already discussed. The second most important thing we can do is to ask our friends, families, and yell across the street to our neighbors—“Have you taken the Census, yet?”  

Let’s stand together, stay at home, and complete the 2020 Census.