Census Day is today; deadlines extended

Census Day is falling on April Fool’s Day today, but the census is no joke.

Every home across the country should have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. When responding to the census, people need to tell the U.S. Census Bureau where they live as of today.

There are several options on how to respond.

New to the 2020 census is the choice to respond online or over the phone. A URL is included on the invitation to respond to the census, Susan Licate, media specialist with the Census Bureau, said.

Another option is to request a paper census form be sent that can be filled out and mailed back. Licate said a mail form must be requested because there isn’t an option to download the form off the internet.

Filling out the census doesn’t require any software downloads or an app or a fee, and a Social Security number isn’t required, Licate said.

The census bureau also won’t call, so anyone who wants to fill out the form by phone needs to call the Census Bureau, according to Licate.

The schedule for responding to the census has been extended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

People have until Aug. 14 to respond, according to the Census Bureau. The deadline was previously July 31.

Census takers will drop off invitations to households that haven’t responded between March 29 and May 14, a delay of two weeks from the original plan, according to the Census Bureau.

Between April 29 and May 1, the Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness, including those in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at nonsheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments, the census bureau said. This is a month later than originally planned.

Census takers will go out and interview households that haven’t responded to the census between May 28 and Aug. 14, a delay of two weeks from the original plan, the Census Bureau said.

Though the dates for conducting the census have been pushed back, the dates for delivering the census to Washington and for giving each state its local count for redistricting purposes haven’t been pushed back.

The count is still due to the government by Dec. 31, and the head count for each state is due April 1, 2021.