Please complete your Census 2020 form online, by phone, or by mail when your invitation to respond arrives. Visit my2020census.gov to begin. Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings included detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
I had to leave my dorm!
College students living in on-campus housing are generally counted through their university as part of the Census Group Quarters operation. It tallies all students living in university-owned housing. In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to COVID-19 will still be counted as part of that process. “Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria that states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.”
Census has asked schools to contact their students and remind them to respond. Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, students living away from home at school should be counted at school in most cases, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, I have been advised that “universities only need to provide what is allowed under FERPA.” The Bureau “will accept ‘incomplete’ responses from universities that are submitting through eResponse and Paper Data Collection.” I suspect that this will mean followup at home for a number of college students.
For a Census Data Center discussion how to report for the 2nd home that it is unoccupied, Jeff Behler, Regional Director, Census Bureau provided this information:
After entering the ID or for Non-ID processing the street address, the respondent will be led to a screen that begins the Household Questions with the address of the housing unit.
Including yourself, how many people will be living or staying at 123 MAIN STREET on April 1, 2020?
If the housing unit is not the usual place of residence and no one is living there as their usual place of residence, then enter “0”
It will look as though the online form is rejecting that answer because it comes back with a response in red: Please include yourself when reporting the number of people.
This is a soft edit response to ensure you correctly entering “0”. Submit again and the response is:
On April 1, 2020, will you be living or staying at 123 MAIN STREET?
Enter the answer “No” and the next screen probes for the reason the unit is vacant
What is the primary reason why no one will be living or staying at 123 MAIN STREET on April 1, 2020? The unit will be –
Rented, not occupied
For sale only
Sold, not occupied
For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use
For migrant workers
Then the online form probes for where you will be living on April 1
Thank you for providing information for 123 MAIN STREET. Since you will not be living or staying at this address on Census Day, you do not need to provide any additional information for it.
Gotta have faith
As the Faithful Census folks note: Our faith teaches that every person has God-given dignity. Therefore everyone deserves to be counted in the 2020 Census. When everyone in our community is counted, we get the federal funds we need for our schools, hospitals, roads, and other essential programs like Head Start, food assistance, and affordable housing.
Responding to the 2020 Census has never been easier because you can choose to respond online, by phone, or mail– and it just takes 10 minutes to respond for your entire household.
Gayla Tillman, Civic Engagement Coordinator for Georgia Conservation Voters notes:
“The census matters because we need climate protections and solutions for all our communities. Black, Brown, and low-income communities disproportionately feel the effects of polluted air and water and utility burden. An inclusive census will not only tell decision-makers but also climate advocates how to best serve communities that have been traditionally hard to count.
“What’s more, as a descendant of people once lawfully considered property, I consider being counted in the census as personally and politically important to the fight for equity and justice… The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the many ways that working-class people and people of color are vulnerable to economic imbalance.
“The root of what our communities need is investment. That investment begins with knowing where and who people are — the census helps determine how resources are allocated in our country.”
Save your government some money!
If you fill out the form online or by mail, you save the governmental expense of folks needing to call you. If your information is there, no need for an enumerator to come to your house. In the age of COVID-19, no one wants THAT. Please fill out your form ASAP.