On August 11, Census enumerators will begin visiting homes of those who have not yet completed the 2020 Census. Originally scheduled to start in mid May, Census door-to-door enumeration was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Census was originally planned to end in July, door-knocking was extended through October 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 31, it was announced that in-person enumeration would end on September 30.
As of July 27, New York’s Census self-response rate was 58%, compared to its 2010 response rate of 64.6%, and to the current national average of 62.4%. The COVID-19 pandemic has, in no small measure, slowed down Census self-response nationwide, especially in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods in Queens, the national epicenter of the pandemic during its first peak in mid-April.
Low self-response has heightened the need not only for the extension of the Census, but for door-to-door enumeration.
However, on July 31, it was announced that door-knocking would end on September 30, a month earlier than previously planned. In-person enumeration is crucial to ensure that the 40% of the population that has still not completed the Census gets counted on time. Enumeration had been extended due to the severe undercount that the pandemic has produced. Cutting in-person enumeration by a month will prevent more households from getting counted.
Wariness of giving personal information to government agencies often keeps individuals from completing the Census. For immigrants, this is compounded by the fear of personal information being handed to ICE or another immigration agency. An in-person visit from a Census Bureau enumerator might only make this fear worse.
Completing the Census before August 11 will not only prevent a visit from a Census enumerator; it will also leave a 10-year impact on communities across the country, and help them recover from the impact of the pandemic, through the allocation of $650 billion in federal funding to schools, hospitals, and other public services.
This can only be achieved by obtaining a complete count of everyone living in the United States, regardless of age, race, or citizenship status.
The Census is safe, confidential, and cannot be shared with ICE or any other immigration or government agency. It takes 10 minutes to fill out and can be completed by mail, by phone at 844-330-2020, or online at my2020census.gov.
By completing the census on your own time and on your own terms, you are demonstrating your commitment to the future of your community, and acknowledging that regardless of income, age, ethnicity, or citizenship status, everybody in the U.S. counts.
This article has been updated to reflect the end date of in-person Census enumeration being moved from October 31 to September 30.