Jan 20, 2020

The 2020 census begins tomorrow on the edge of America

A map showing tooksook bay
Map: AP

The first Americans to be counted in the 2020 census, which begins tomorrow, live in Toksook Bay, Alaska — a community of 661 on the edge of the American expanse, AP reports.

Catch up quick: The decennial U.S. census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the U.S. purchased the territory from Russia in 1867.

  • Once the spring thaw hits, towns empty as residents scatter for traditional hunting and fishing grounds. The frozen ground that in January makes it easier to get around by March turns to marsh that's difficult to traverse.
  • Mail service is spotty and internet connectivity unreliable, which makes door-to-door surveying important.

What's next: The rest of the country, plus urban areas of Alaska such as Anchorage, will begin the census in mid-March.

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