As the COVID-19 pandemic continues keeping most residents indoors for the majority of their day, responding to their U.S. Census questionnaire has been welcomed as a brief distraction from the 24-hours news cycle.
Beginning this week on April 8th, millions of American household will begin receiving paper questionnaires in their mailbox as part of the scheduled 2020 Census calendar. These reminders have become an essential part of encouraging higher response rates.
Have you checked your mailbox this week? Chances are your reminder has already arrived.
“If you’re among the nearly half of all the nation’s households that have responded already, thank you!” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham, in a press release. “It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone, or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker. It’s something everyone can do while practicing social distancing at home to make a difference today, tomorrow and the next 10 years.”
If you are answering online or by phone, make sure to have your paper Census form in hand or nearby. You will need the unique alphanumeric code listed on the form. That number is assigned to your address.
Residents are encouraged to rally family, friends and those in their community to together and join in the effort to safely complete their questionnaires without the need for social distancing in your home. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your family. Your response data is safe and protected by Title 13 of the U.S. Code, and cannot be shared or used against you in any way.
Early responses will minimize the need for census teams to visit neighborhoods in your community once the COVID-19 quarantine has been lifted.
Upcoming Census Calendar Dates:
April 8 – 16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded.
April 20 – 27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person.
May 13 – July 31: If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person.
Related story: Check out how your community is responding to the 2020 Census
Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.