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2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19

We adapted or delayed some of our operations to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public and make sure we get the same population counted another way.

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In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
  • Implement guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities regarding COVID-19.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

Please see: Census Bureau Statement on 2020 Census Data Collection Ending.

Status of Current Operations

Self-Response Phase

Online, phone and mailed self-responses continued throughout the data collection process.

Planned Schedule

March 12 – July 31

Revised Schedule

March 12 - October 15, 2020

Nonresponse Followup (NRFU)

Census takers interviewed households in person. New dates covered areas previously scheduled for "Early NRFU."

Planned Schedule

May 13 – July 31

Revised Schedule

The Census Bureau began soft-launching NRFU on July 16, 2020. All area census offices completed their work by October 15, 2020.

Group Quarters (E-Response & Paper Enumeration)

Many group quarters responded through our e-Response enumeration option.

Planned Schedule

April 2 – June 5

Revised Schedule

April 2 – September 3

Remote Alaska

Early operation to reach parts of Alaska which may be difficult to reach later in the year and whose populations depart for other activities. The operation was mostly completed on the original planned schedule, though some areas with year-round populations were enumerated when it was safe to do so.

Planned Schedule

January 21 – April 30

Revised Schedule

January 21 – August 31

Island Areas

Census takers interviewed households in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This operation was coordinated with the local Island Areas governments. Census takers used paper questionnaires to interview households.

Planned Schedule

February 3 - June 30

Revised Schedule

February 3 - October 15

Field Offices at Peak Operations 

Managers and staff commenced administrative, training, deployment and support activities for peak data collection operations. This included selecting and hiring field staff.

Planned Schedule

March 1

Revised Schedule

Phased re-opening occurred between May 4 and June 12.

Update Leave - Stateside

Census takers dropped off invitations to respond and paper questionnaires at the front doors of 5 million households stateside while updating their addresses.

Planned Schedule

March 15 – April 17

Revised Schedule

Phased re-opening occurred between May 4 and June 12.

Update Leave – Puerto Rico

Update Leave operations for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, approximately 1.7 million households, were coordinated separately.

Planned Schedule

March 15 – April 17

Revised Schedule

May 22

Update Enumerate

Census takers interviewed 2,000 households in remote parts of northern Maine and southeast Alaska.

Planned Schedule

March 16 – April 30

Revised Schedule

June 14 – July 29

In-Person Group Quarters Enumeration

Group Quarters that remain as part of our in-person group quarters enumeration efforts began in July.

Planned Schedule

April 2 – June 5

Revised Schedule

July 1 – September 3

Service Based Enumeration

We worked with service providers at soup kitchens, shelters, and regularly scheduled food vans to count the people they serve.

Planned Schedule

March 30 – April 1

Revised Schedule

September 22 - September 24

Mobile Questionnaire Assistance

Census Bureau staff assisted people with responding online at places people gather (events, grocery stores, etc.).

Planned Schedule

March 30 – July 31

Revised Schedule

Through October 15 with limited capacity

Count of People experiencing homelessness outdoors

Census takers counted people under bridges, in parks, in all-night businesses, etc.

Planned Schedule

April 1

Revised Schedule

September 23 - September 24

Enumeration of Transitory Locations

Census takers counted people staying at campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, and hotels – if those people did not usually live elsewhere.

Planned Schedule

April 9 – May 4

Revised Schedule

September 3 – September 28

Process Apportionment Counts

After collection activities are complete, Census Bureau experts run and review output from programs to unduplicate responses, determine final housing unit status, populate any missing housing unit data on household size and finalize the universe to be included in the apportionment count file.

The statutory deadline to provide apportionment counts is December 31, 2020.

Process Redistricting Data 

Census Bureau experts run and review programs to populate any missing demographic data for each household, run differential privacy programs to ensure confidentiality and run tabulation programs for each state delivery.

The statutory deadline to provide redistricting data is March 31, 2021.