2020 Census Coming; Please Respond

Count everyone who lives in the United States as of April 1, 2020

Census 2020 buttonInvitations for the 2020 Census are coming to 140 million US households March 12-20. “For the first time, nearly everyone will be invited to respond online, by phone or by mail.” In fact, my form arrived on March 12.

A sample of the 2020 Census questionnaire is available on 2020census.gov” along with additional information. “The invitation mailings are addressed to ‘Resident’ at the household address and do not include an individual’s name. Some areas will receive “information on how to respond online. Households in areas of the country that are less likely to respond via the internet will also receive a paper questionnaire in their first mailing, along with information on how to respond online.

“Along with the invitations, people can expect to find an overview of the census, a description of language assistance in English plus 12 non-English languages and a census ID number linked to their address. About 13 million households across the nation will receive bilingual English/Spanish invitations and questionnaires…

How are we doing?

“The Census Bureau has created an interactive response rates map at 2020census.gov/response-rates so America can keep track of how they’re doing. Beginning on March 20, the map will be updated daily to reflect current response rates from communities around the country. For comparison, the map also displays the final response rate from the 2010 Census.”

Here’s a 10-minute video that explains the process of filling out the form.

This online capture of data is a new thing for the decennial Census. Two things occur to me, one of which I’ve thought of many times before. One is that I hope that people respond as soon as possible. It saves the government, i.e., the citizens, money. Check out this schedule:


March 12-20: The U.S. Postal Service will deliver initial invitations to respond online and by phone. 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. [Additional expense]
April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded. [Ditto]
April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded. [Ditto]

If a household does not respond to the census, a census taker will follow up in person. [A lot more of an additional expense.] In most cases, this will begin in mid-May and conclude in late July.
Households can still respond on their own during this period, and if they do, they will be removed from the nonresponse follow-up workload. People are encouraged to answer all questions on the 2020 Census to avoid having a census taker knock at their door.

If you do it correctly, and early, not having a Census worker come to your door will also be a safer choice. With concern over COVID-19, the online/mail choice will not only save money, but it will be the healthier choice.

Since 1790

“The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe and important, and it’s key to shaping the future of communities. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone who lives in the United States as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day). Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers for public services like emergency response, schools, hospitals and bridges over the next 10 years.”

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