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Update on the 2020 Census

Wed Jul 08 2020
Written By: Dr. Steven Dillingham
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The leadership and staff of the U.S. Census Bureau – including the half-million census takers joining the 2020 Census team this summer – are fully committed to a complete and accurate count of all people living in the United States, without exception. That is our mission and the mission of our more than 380,000 partnering organizations across the nation that reach into every community and touch every household in America. 

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While the Census Bureau is enormously proud of its central role in conducting the count, the decennial census is a national responsibility and relies on everyone working together. Let there be no mistake, the 2020 Census is nonpartisan in its operation and support. The census is grounded in the U.S. Constitution. It is our collective legal, civic, and moral responsibility to do everything possible to get a complete and accurate count, including special efforts, talents, and partnerships to reach hard-to-count and hard-to-reach populations. Working together with the outstanding leadership of the career executives with whom I am honored to serve, the experienced and dedicated teams in our field offices, and partners across the nation, we will complete our shared mission in the face of formidable challenges including COVID-19.

We are pleased to have received responses from more than 91 million households so far, representing nearly 62 percent of the nation’s households. That is an enormous accomplishment, which would not have been possible without new technologies, innovations, and more committed partners than ever before. For the first time in history, we are providing everyone online and telephonic self-response options in addition to paper-based responses. We have found that the nation clearly prefers the efficient and cost-effective online option. The online responses allow us to devote resources to areas of greatest need, including hard-to-count areas and nonresponse follow-up operations. While we are excited about our progress, we must continue to focus on those areas with traditionally low response rates, which we monitor daily – and the public can as well – thorough our website. All communities must be fully counted!

While the unexpected public health challenges posed by COVID-19 brought our field operations to a halt in March, we determined that the best path forward was to shift the schedule of the planned field operations and activities. I am proud to report that we have restarted operations across the country and are operating in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety guidance. We have invited nearly every household in America to participate in the 2020 Census through multiple mailings and in-person deliveries for remote households that do not receive regular mail. We are resuming in-person enumeration for a handful of pre-determined remote households. We also are preparing to conduct our massive Nonresponse Followup operation beginning in a select number of communities in mid-July and expanding nationwide by mid-August.

We urge everyone to encourage friends, family, neighbors, and social networks to go online to fill out the 2020 Census, and to respond when census takers knock on their door to count their household in a safe manner. We will continue to stress the complete confidentiality of 2020 Census responses. We and our partners will also amplify “Be Counted” messages across social media platforms, local radio, television, and other communication methods. 

The Census Bureau has planned over the last decade to execute the most efficient, effective, and innovative decennial census ever. With the continued support of the American people and our hundreds of thousands of partners across the country, I am confident we will accomplish our mission and deliver a complete and accurate count of the nation. 

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