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The Health Crisis Has Complicated the Ongoing U.S. Census

The novel coronavirus has grabbed public attention, distracting from the national count. Census officials are putting extra emphasis on filing online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

by Gordon Jackson, The Brunswick News / April 1, 2020

(TNS) — Collecting census data has become more than a numbers game since the coronavirus outbreak erupted nationwide.

Today is Census Day, but coronavirus has distracted many from filing the information vital to determining the number of congressmen who represent each state to federal funding for roads, schools, hospitals and public works.

Census officials are putting extra emphasis on filing online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. People who prefer the old-school method can respond by telephone or by mail.

“Everyone should respond to the 2020 Census as soon as they receive their invitation, and when they’re finished, they can make sure their friends, families and social networks know about the importance of responding,” said Frances Alonzo, a public information officer for the census count.

Many people, such as college students, have left campuses to go home. These students will be counted according to where they live and sleep most of the time. Schools are being asked to contact their students to encourage them to respond to the census.

The self-response deadline has been extended until Aug. 14. Census takers will drop off invitations at the doors of five million households.

Census takers will follow up with households that haven’t responded to the census by phone or mail beginning May 13. They are also working with service providers at soup kitchens, shelters and regularly scheduled food vans to count the people they serve.

The homeless living under bridges, parks and other locations will be counted May 1. People living in campgrounds, RV parks, marinas and hotels will be counted if they do not usually live elsewhere April 23 util May 18.

The results are scheduled to be deliver on time to the president on Dec. 31 and to the states by April 1, 2001.

“As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we will adjust census taker and survey operations as necessary in order to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities,” Alonzo said.

©2020 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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