The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that, due to COVID-19 and the temporary suspension of field operations, the 2020 Census response deadline has been extended to Oct. 31. A previously-extended deadline date had been announced for Aug 14, which has now been rescheduled. This most recent extension will help ensure that all households have an opportunity to be counted.
Most households received their initial invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in March. By the middle of that month, the Census Bureau had started the process of hand-delivering paper questionnaires in rural areas; however, the temporary suspension of field operations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in a delay.
As of May 13, Area Census Offices and 2020 Census field operations have been re-opened in nine states, including North Carolina. This means that more households – especially those who are known to have poor internet service in their area – should expect to find paper questionnaires left outside their front doors in coming weeks. All Census workers are expected to be trained in preventing the spread of the virus, with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.
There are three options to respond to the 2020 Census – by phone, by mail or online. Households can respond safely from home by using the online form on the U.S. Census website at www.census.gov; by phone at 844-330-2020; or by mailing back the paper questionnaire being sent/delivered to their homes.
Approximately 86 million households have already responded to the U.S. Census, with the national self-response rate at just over 58 percent, as compared with North Carolina’s rate of 55.1 percent. Granville County’s response total was reported at 58.1 percent as of May 12, with the Town of Butner falling in at 55.1 percent; the City of Creedmoor at 58.6 percent; the City of Oxford at 53.6 percent; the Town of Stem at 64.9 percent and the Town of Stovall at 14.9 percent.
In August, in-person visits to non-responsive households are scheduled to begin. A quick response to the Census by one of the three available methods will reduce the need for door-to-door visitation.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a Census of the country’s entire population be conducted every ten years. Results of this survey are used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets through 2030, as well as guiding the distribution of an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal funding for hospitals, health clinics, fire departments, schools, roads and other public services in local communities.
The 2020 Census marks the 24th time that the United States has counted its population since 1790.
To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit www.census.gov.