2020 Census must go on – and its data is important during a crisis

United States Census illustration. (Credit: MGN)
Credit: MGN

What impact will the coronavirus have on the census?

Three congressional members from Florida said we could lose out on millions of dollars because of social distancing, as the homeless and those without internet access might not get counted.

“Even though many things may seem uncertain at the moment, one thing isn’t: the 2020 Census is here,” said Al Fontenot, associate director for Decennial Census Programs, U.S. Census Bureau.

The coronavirus “was not anything any of us could have anticipated or planned,” he said.

More than 18 million households have already responded with their census forms. However, the census completion date has been extended to Aug. 14. By design, the Census Bureau offers several ways for people to respond, including by mail and online, without being in contact with a census taker.

“Anyone who wanted to in the country had an easy, safe, secure, and quick way they could respond to the census,” said Fontenot.

All onboarding for temporary Census Bureau employees, which includes fingerprinting and background checks, has been suspended until April 1.

The biggest operation – the door-to-door effort for people who don’t respond – is slated to begin at the end of May.

“The current situation underscores the need for census data. Census results are used to inform planning and funding for hospitals, and health clinics, and emergency preparedness, and even school lunch programs,” said Fontenot.

So everyone is encouraged to respond, especially during times like these.

The Census Bureau stresses that workers will not ask for your social security number, bank information or for political donations.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.