Jul 9, 2020 - Economy

Counting push for 2020 census to begin after coronavirus disruptions

A paper 2020 census survey

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. Census Bureau field workers may appear in areas with low response rates next week as part of the next push to boost participation in the count.

Why it matters: The pandemic interfered with door-to-door canvassing, and so far, nearly four in 10 U.S. households have not yet responded.

What to watch: Starting next week, workers will be stationed with tablets outside grocery stores, pharmacies and libraries in areas with low participation rates.

  • The following week, door knocking will begin for households who've not yet filled out a form.
  • The nationwide door knocking campaign will begin Aug. 11.
  • The extended deadline for the completed count is Oct. 31.

The big picture: This is the first year the census form can be filled out online, but those who have not yet responded are less likely to do so digitally. Door-to-door efforts have been most effective at reaching hard-to-count communities in past years.

Bureau officials noted in a press call Wednesday that it has obtained 40 million PPE items — including 2.5 million masks and 48,000 gallons of hand sanitizer — for field staff. About 500,000 temporary workers will be stationed across 248 local offices.

Households can respond by mailing back the paper questionnaire they received, by responding online at 2020census.gov, or by phone at 844-330-2020.

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