The 2020 Census And COVID-19: What's Next?
We already knew that:
- In-person canvassing in L.A. County had been paused by community groups
- Some members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus are calling for the census to be extended three months to get a more accurate count
- L.A. County — even before this pandemic — was considered the hardest to count in the nation because we have high numbers of historically undercounted populations including: immigrants, young children, multi-generational households and non-family roommates.
Here's the latest from NPR's Hansi Lo Wang on the state of the 2020 Census:
NPR has learned that at least one U.S. Census Bureau employee — who was recently hired, spokesperson Michael Cook says, and has not interacted with the public on behalf of the bureau — has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the bureau has decided to delay starting its early round of door-knocking by census workers in college towns to April 23. The bureau is also waiting until early April, instead of late March, to begin its outreach effort to send out representatives with computer tablets to help people submit their census responses online. That program, which is expected to cost at least $100 million, is designed to target people in high-traffic locations, from public transit hubs to grocery stores.
THE "SAFEST" WAY TO DO THE CENSUS IS ON YOUR OWN
If you prefer paper, all households that haven't responded by early April are expected to receive a physical questionnaire in the mail. Some households in areas with low Internet subscription rates, and communities with higher shares of residents over age 65, are set to receive paper forms by March 20.
Those would be "the safest" ways to do the census because they involve little to no person-to-person contact, says John Thompson, a former Census Bureau director who left the agency in 2017.
But the key is to turn in your household's legally required response as soon as possible, Thompson adds. Otherwise, your home address is likely to be added to the list of places for census workers to visit in person beginning May 13.
READ HIS FULL REPORT:
MORE ON THE CENSUS: