PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Census only happens every 10 years, and its impact is felt in almost every aspect of our daily lives, but a recent outbreak of the coronavirus has some worried about the impact it could have on door-to-door census takers.
We set out to Verify: How is the coronavirus affecting census takers?
First of all, you'll start getting invitations to complete the census in mid-March. You can respond online, via phone or by mail. You should receive the invitation by April 1.
Census takers will go door-to-door at college campuses, senior centers and other large, group homes for an accurate count, on a case-by-case basis.
If you don't live in this kind of housing, you won't be getting an in-person visit unless you don't respond online, via phone or via mail. These visits will start happening between May and July 2020.
Census Director Dr. Steven Dillingham sent out issued the following statement on Feb. 26:
"The safety of the American public and our employees is job one. We are working with national health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the President's Task Force, as well as state and local health departments to ensure all of their guidance is incorporated into our operations. Operations for the 2020 Census and our ongoing household surveys have procedures built in that specifically anticipate epidemics and pandemics, and we will continue to work with the relevant authorities to keep those up to date."
On March 11, the Census Bureau again reiterated that it's never been easier to respond without meeting a census taker. You can do so online, over the phone or by mail
"We are encouraging everyone to respond online as soon as you receive your invitation with the provided instructions to go online," the Census Bureau said in the statement.
We can Verify: There are methods to avoid dealing with an in-person census count if you do not live in a group home, senior home or college housing.
Do you have something you'd like us to Verify? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.