The United States Census Bureau is currently monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will follow guidance set out by federal, state, and local health authorities to prevent the spread of the disease. The bureau is pushing for more electronic and mail responses without the need for enumerators to follow up in person.
Additionally, the bureau announced that it is modifying some of the 2020 census operations:
- The bureau is adjusting operations to ensure college students are counted. The bureau has contacted college/university student housing administrators to get their input on the enumeration methods that will allow students to participate in the 2020 Census. According to the document “in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and the Census is asking schools to reach out to students to remind them to complete the census electronically with their school address.
- The bureau is also reaching out to group quarters (jails, prisons, long term care providers, etc.) to prevent less in-person contact. They are encouraging all group quarters to complete an electronic response to reduce the number of in-person responses required.
- The bureau is determining the best way forward to assist service providers (shelters, soup kitchens, and mobile food vans) to ensure the homeless are counted. The original plan was to begin in-person interviews of individuals being served between March 30th and April 1st. The bureau is currently reaching out to see if facilities will be open between March 30th and April 1st and asking the providers to give the homeless paper responses to complete.
- The bureau is delaying the early nonresponse follow-up operation from April 9th to April 23rd. This program sends reminders and staff to households that have not completed the census.
- Finally, the bureau is delaying the start of the Mobile Questionnaire Assistance program. This program offers assistance with responding to the census at festivals, houses of worship, and places where people naturally congregate.