Citizens received an important item in their physical mailboxes in mid-March - their invitation to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census.
And it's not just an opportunity to help your local community by being counted, it's also the law for all people living in the United States to be counted.
The easiest way to respond, especially in a safe way to avoid the spread of coronavirus? Go online to the Census homepage and follow several steps to respond. The online format takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Some notable details:
ID number: Each letter mailed to an address will have a 12-digit Census ID number to be used in the online format.
Census Day: People will be counted based on their residence on April 1.
Multilingual effort: The Census can be completed online in 13 languages, and webpages and guides are offered in 59 non-English languages.
The Youngest Count: Funding for many projects related to give families with young children a strong start are funded based on Census data.
Yet about 2.2 million children age 5 and under were missed during the 2010 Census. That number adds up to nearly 10 percent of the age group. This has been blamed on many families simply not realizing babies should be counted.
College Students: Coronavirus has affected college classes and disrupted living arrangements for many students. The Census Bureau's statement for college students' residence is as follows: "Per the Census Bureau's residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the Covid-19 pandemic."
Physical counters: Those that do not complete the form online still will need to be counted. Physical Census counters will canvas the country to complete forms for each U.S. address, although their timeframe is likely to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Avoiding scams: the Census Bureau will only make contact by mail or in person - never by email. For questions about an in-person Census interviewer, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
Deadline date (for now): The current deadline date for having all people counted has been extended to mid-August from its original date. However, as the coronavirus pandemic continues and develops, that date could be further extended.
Census results are used for many reasons. They help determine allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, roads and other public services based on needs in areas based on population.
The results also help to draw legislative district lines and determine a state's seat numbers in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Find out more online or call 1-844-330-2020.