The U.S. Census Bureau pushed back deadlines for residents to respond to the 2020 Census due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The self-response phase was originally planned for March 12 through July 31, but the revised schedule pushed the end date to Oct. 31. These are responses given via online, phone and mailed-in. The deadline for Group Quarters (E-Response and Paper Enumeration) is Sept. 3. The Nonresponse Follow-up (NRFU) phase, where workers interview households, is extended until Oct. 31.
Service Based Enumeration, which is when Census takers work with soup kitchens, shelters, and regularly scheduled food vans to count the people they serve, is extended but is being reviewed. Dates for the Mobile Questionnaire Assistance, when staff assists people with responding online at places people gather such as events and grocery stories, are also being reviewed.
The Census is also reviewing how to extend the count of people experiencing homelessness outside. Dates for Enumeration of Transitory Locations, which is taking count of people staying at campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, and hotels if they do not usually live elsewhere, is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 3 to Sept. 28, but it may need further review.
Collecting data on housing units is planned for Oct. 31, 2020 – April 30, 2021. The states’ population totals are now due to be delivered by April 30, 2021.
By law, the Census Bureau will deliver the local counts each state needs to complete legislative redistricting. The new date for this is July 31, 2021.
Starting the week of May 4, field offices began a phased restart in select geographic areas. It did not include any location in Michigan. Residents can see which areas will see more active field operations at 2020census.gov.
“The health and safety of Census Bureau staff and the public is of the utmost importance. All returning staff will receive safety training to observe social distancing protocols in the COVID-19 environment. For their safety and the safety of the public, the Census Bureau has ordered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all field staff, including those that work in a field office. These materials will be secured and provided to staff prior to restarting operations,” according to a U.S. Census statement.
Workers will resume dropping off 2020 Census invitation packets at front doors of households in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at home. This operation is also known as Update Leave. About 5 percent of households are counted in the Update Leave operation, where census workers will confirm or update a household’s physical location address and then leave a census questionnaire packet, according to the Census Bureau.
The Update Leave operation does not require interaction between households and a Census Bureau employee follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines. In states that have resumed the Update Leave operation, the Bureau resumed fingerprinting for new hires to keep applicants moving through the hiring process. Staff will begin returning to the office as necessary to support the Update Leave operation.