Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Watch your inbox: Census starts tomorrow

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Starting March 12, you may receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. Households in areas that are less likely to respond online will receive paper questionnaires as well. Reminders will be sent the following week.

How it works: Every household that hasn't responded by March 26 will receive reminder postcards.

  • Between April 20–27, final reminder postcards will be sent before census staff members follow up in person. Less than 1% of households will be counted in person, as that is typically reserved for very remote areas.

The bottom line: Yes, this is the first "online" census, but every household will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone.

Go deeper: "Online first" census must navigate the digital divide

Go deeper

"Online first" census must navigate digital divide

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The government is encouraging Americans to respond to this year's census online, prompting concerns that millions who lack internet access may not be properly counted.

Why it matters: The 2020 census determines how federal funding is allocated across the country, so any undercount matters, and one caused by the digital divide would skew heavily against less well-off citizens.

Census Bureau halts field operations for 2 weeks

Chris Worrell, right, jokes with Teresa Jefferson as he applies to work the 2020 Census at the John Tierney Learning Center in South Boston on Feb. 22. Photo: Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The U.S. Census Bureau will suspend field operations for two weeks to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, the agency announced Wednesday.

What's happening: Census takers are scheduled to start visiting houses to collect the information of those who have not responded in late May to complete the count, but the agency said it will follow federal and state health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic and make changes as necessary.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Facebook takes down Trump campaign's "census" ads

Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

After initially indicating it would not take action against campaign ads from President Trump that encouraged people to "take the Official 2020 Congressional District Census today," Facebook said Thursday it would take the messages down.

Why it matters: Facebook has generally subjected political advertising to few rules, but had said it would take a tough stand against any posts designed to mislead people about the census.