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2020 Census adjusts operations schedule due to coronavirus outbreak

Deadlines delayed, extended amid national pandemic

Residents have begun receiving the U.S. Census Bureau's request for information receiving letters with a census identification number to answer questions about their households online. The paperwork states they will send a Census Bureau interviewer if residents don't fill out the online questionnaire. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)
Residents have begun receiving the U.S. Census Bureau's request for information receiving letters with a census identification number to answer questions about their households online. The paperwork states they will send a Census Bureau interviewer if residents don't fill out the online questionnaire. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP) (Post Register no sales no mags)

The U.S. Census Bureau is delaying and extending 2020 Census deadlines due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the country.

RELATED: What you need to know about the 2020 Census

This news follows the bureau’s original plan to suspend operations through April 1.

The bureau is adjusting their schedule of operations in an effort to comply with social distancing and closures amid the spread of COVID-19.

Below, we’ll break down a few relevant phases of the bureau’s new 2020 Census operations schedule:

Self-Response Phase

The public responds to the 2020 Census on their own online, or by phone or mail if necessary.

  • Planned Schedule: March 12-July 31
  • Revised Schedule: Extended, March 12-August 14

Update Leave

Census takers to drop off 2020 Census invitations to 5 million households. These residents can still respond online now through the due date by providing their address.

  • Planned Schedule: March 15-April 17
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, March 29-May 1

Mobile Questionnaire Assistance

Census Bureau staff will assist people with responding online at places such as grocery stores and community centers.

  • Planned Schedule: March 30-July 31
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, April 13-August 14

Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) and NRFU Reinterview

Census takers will interview households in person that have not responded online, by phone or by mail.

  • Planned Schedule: May 13-July 31
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, May 28-August 14

Group Quarters Enumeration

The bureau is encouraging administrators of facilities like nursing homes, prisons and student housing to choose an option for counting their residents that requires less in-person contact.

  • Planned Schedule: April 2-June 5
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, April 16-June 19

Service-Based Enumeration

The bureau is working with service providers at soup kitchens, shelters and regularly scheduled food vans to count the people they serve.

  • Planned Schedule: March 30-April 1
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, April 29-May 1

Census counts people experiencing homelessness outdoors

Census takers will count people under bridges, in parks, in all-night businesses, etc.

  • Planned Schedule: April 1
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, May 1

Enumeration of Transitory Locations

Census takers count people staying at campgrounds, RV parks, marinas and hotels if they do not usually live elsewhere.

  • Planned Schedule: April 9-May 4
  • Revised Schedule: Delayed, April 23-May 18

Deliver apportionment counts to the President

By law, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines its number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • On schedule: December 31

Deliver redistricting counts to states

By law, the Census Bureau will deliver the local counts each state needs to complete legislative redistricting.

  • On schedule: April 1, 2021

Click here to to take the 2020 Census online.


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