The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the 2020 census deadline, originally set for the end of July, to Oct. 31 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national count, taken every decade, helps determine where billions in federal funding goes and how many seats in Congress each state has.
Nationally, more than 70 million households had responded, the Census Bureau said in a newsletter, but the agency has slowed data collection to help protect households and employees from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
It stopped field data collection — having census data collected in person — in March, but plans to launch field offices in early June and have data collectors back out in early August.
Most residents should have received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau that contains an individualized code to access the online questionnaire. Those who have not received a letter or have misplaced it can go to www.2020census.gov.
Underneath the place for the code is an option to obtain a census ID by plugging in one’s address or the address of where the person lived on April 1.
The only thing residents should get in the mail from the Census Bureau is a letter with code for the online census, or a paper census if they opted in for it, or if they have not participated in the online census yet.
As for filling out the census online, residents should check that any correspondence from the Census Bureau comes from a census.gov address, including any links that may be included in emails.
If an email claiming to be from the Census Bureau ends in “.com,” do not reply to it or open any links it may contain. Either delete it or forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents also are encouraged to contact police as well as the regional Census Bureau hotline, which is based in Los Angeles, Calif., at 1-800-992-3530, or the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-551-4636.
Census data collectors who are going door-to-door have identification with a watermark from the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as a photo of themselves with their name and the expiration date.
They will come to private homes only if residents have not responded to the census or if one of the required responses was incomplete.