WASHINGTON, D.C. — Census Day arrived Wednesday with a nation almost paralyzed by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
April 1, 2020 is the date used to reference where a person lives for the once-a-decade count. It’s not a deadline.
When you respond, you'll tell the U.S. Census Bureau where you live as of April 1 and include everyone who usually lives and sleeps in your home. You can respond before or after that date, but you're encouraged to respond as soon as you can.
The bureau says responding to the census is easy, safe and important, and is key to shaping the future of communities.
Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs legislative district boundaries.
These statistics also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers to communities for public services and infrastructure like hospitals, emergency services, schools and bridges each year over the next 10 years.
As of Wednesday, about 36% of households across the nation have responded to the 2020 census since invitations began arriving in mailboxes March 12-20, according to the bureau.
The public is strongly encouraged to respond to the 2020 census online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages.
The spread of the virus has forced the bureau to suspend field operations for a month, from mid-March to mid-April. That's when the hiring process would be ramping up for tens of thousands of temporary census takers.
It also has delayed the start of counts for the homeless and people living in group quarters and has pushed back the deadline for wrapping up the head count to mid-August.
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