Amid coronavirus, Census Bureau urges Americans to complete 2020 tally online

Census Bureau announces two-week delays to some of its activities

March 13, 2020- people started getting Census letters in the mail this week
March 13, 2020- people started getting Census letters in the mail this week
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 15, 2020 - 10:42pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

As the U.S. Census Bureau works to complete the 2020 Census amid the coronavirus outbreak, the agency emphasized that people can respond to the census without ever coming into personal contact with a census taker.

"The key message right now for anyone with questions about how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 Census: It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker," a press release explained.

"We’re contacting all group quarters administrators that have requested an in-person visit and asking them to consider an eResponse or offering to drop off and later pick up paper forms to minimize in person contact with our census staff," the Bureau stated.

The press release noted that the Bureau will delay some of its activities.

"We plan to offer assistance with responding to the 2020 Census at events and locations where people naturally gather as part of our Mobile Questionnaire Assistance program," according to the bureau. This now will begin on April 13, a couple of weeks later than the previous March 30 start date.

The bureau also will delay its Early Nonresponse Followup by two weeks, starting that effort on April 23 rather than April 9. 

"In this operation, census takers begin following up with households that haven’t responded yet around some colleges and universities," the Bureau explained. "By starting early, we can count households in areas with off-campus housing before the end of the spring semester when students may leave for another residence."