Updates to 2020 Census Operations

June 12, 2020 – The U.S. Census Bureau continues to monitor the impacts COVID-19 has on 2020 Census operations and follow guidance of federal, state and local health authorities to ensure the safety our staff and the public. The Census Bureau is ready to announce resumption of other operations in addition to the Update Leave operation and fingerprinting of new hires, which are already underway, in order to conduct a complete and accurate 2020 Census.  

As of today, over 91 million households have responded to the 2020 Census. People can still respond on their own online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker.

The operational updates outlined below include the Nonresponse Followup operation, partnership events, Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) program, and the integrated communications and partnership campaign.

The Census Bureau will begin a soft launch to Nonresponse Followup.

The Census Bureau routinely “soft launches” operations to ensure systems, operations and field plans work as they should. Starting in mid-July, six area census offices (ACOs) (one per census region) will begin the operation of interviewing households that have yet to respond to the 2020 Census. The six ACOs will be announced by the end of June. Additional ACOs will be announced for a second wave soft launch to occur later in July.  Aside from ACOs that are part of the soft launch, all remaining ACOs will begin the Nonresponse Followup on August 11 and conclude no later than October 31.

All census takers will be trained on social distancing protocols. They will be issued PPE and will follow local guidelines for their use.

The Census Bureau’s Community Partnership and Engagement Program (CPEP) has resumed in-person events.

In coordination with local guidance, partnership specialists resumed in-person efforts in early June working with the over 370,000 partner organizations and attending in-person events across the country where it is safe to do so. Over the past few months, CPEP outreach efforts have been largely comprised of virtual engagements to support stay-at-home orders and social distancing.

The Census Bureau’s Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) program is being modified to reflect the current environment.

We anticipate that MQA staff may be able to resume offering in-person questionnaire response assistance in selected areas based on current health conditions. This program will also add to its portfolio of activities to include direct outreach efforts within the lowest responding neighborhoods throughout the nation. All Census Bureau staff involved in MQA will follow local guidelines with respect to PPE and social distancing.

The Census Bureau will continue its communications campaign through October 2020 — the end of 2020 Census data collection operations.

The Census Bureau has adapted the communications campaign and launched a series of new advertisements aimed at increasing online response to the 2020 Census while much of the nation remains at home practicing social distancing. Additional paid media is planned for July, August and September.

The expanded advertising campaign reaches new audiences in 33 languages, raising the total to 45 non-English languages receiving some level of paid media support. The expanded languages will receive some combination of paid search, print or digital advertisements.

In addition, the Census Bureau expanded the list of media vendors to increase Census Bureau reach of historically undercounted populations through paid advertising on digital, print, television and radio platforms.

The updates to operations outlined above all incorporate the latest federal, state and local guidelines regarding PPE and regulations. For the safety of our staff and the public, the Census Bureau has ordered PPE for all field staff, including those that work in a field office. These materials will be secured and provided to staff as operations begin. Census Bureau staff will follow local health official guidance when wearing PPE.

The Census Bureau will continue to update the public on 2020 Census operations. Visit the 2020 Census operational timeline for further details.

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