You can respond to census online
US residents have until July 31 to answer forms
AUSTIN, Texas – It’s the dawn of a new decade, and in remote areas of Alaska, U. S. Census Bureau workers have already set off to begin counting residents as part of the once- every- 10year census, trying to reach them before the frozen tundra thaws and the region no longer is accessible.
Thankfully, the process to be counted elsewhere will be much simpler.
This year, for the first time, residents will be able to respond to the 2020 census questionnaire online or by phone.
Letters inviting people to fill out their forms will begin arriving in mailboxes as early as March 12. The deadline to respond is July 31, and participation is required by federal law.
The federal government has been counting people every 10 years since 1790. In total, $ 6.3 billion has been budgeted for this year’s process. The Census Bureau will hire half a million temporary workers nationwide to help with the count.
In its 230 years, the Census Bureau has come up with the most comprehensive mailing list of any federal agency. From August to October, field workers went into cities and rural areas to check for any new physical structures and homes to add to its database.
Starting in mid- March, people will begin receiving letters that include a unique number they will enter online. The letter also will have a phone number that people can call to respond to the questions in 13 languages.
Loveday said those in hard- toreach areas with spotty internet access will receive a paper questionnaire in their first mailing to ensure they have plenty of time to respond.
If you accidentally ditch the letter, don’t worry. You’ll receive several reminders, including:
❚ A second letter March 16- 24.
❚ A postcard reminder between March 26 and April 3.
❚ A fourth letter around April 8, which will include a paper questionnaire.
❚ A final mailing around April 20, with an “It’s not too late to respond” postcard.
Starting May 13, anyone who has not responded can expect a knock on the door from a census “enumerator,” who will try to count them in person. That will continue into the summer to ensure everyone is counted by July 31.
The form includes only a handful of questions, including the name, race, sex and date of birth of everyone living in the household as of April 1, 2020. The census questionnaire will not include a citizenship question, after the U. S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to add it to the form.
The bureau has assured residents that personal data collected cannot be shared with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Homeland Security Department, and, before it is published, it is stripped of all personal identifiable information. Census records are kept private for 72 years, after which the National Archives releases them to the public to be used for genealogy.
All census workers must take a lifetime oath to protect personal information. Violations are punishable by up to five years in jail and a $ 250,000 fine.
Participation in the census is required by law.