2020 Census Update: Keep Calm and Response Rates
For the people in the back, the 2020 Census deadline is Oct. 31; not Sept. 30. On Oct. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy H. Koh issued an order clarifying a previously issued injunction. The clarification was needed because the U.S. Census Bureau continued touting the Sept. 30 end date on its website after Judge Koh issued a preliminary injunction on Sept. 24 prohibiting the shortened deadline for collecting population data. The injunction and clarification order are victories for the National Urban League – as the lead plaintiff, League of Women Voters, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, local governments, and civil rights groups.
In response to the legal action, the named defendants, Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., U.S. Commerce Secretary, Steven Dillingham, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Census Bureau updated the 2020Census.gov and Census.gov websites to reflect the Oct. 31 deadline. On Oct. 2, they sent the following message to all Census Bureau employees, including those in the field working tirelessly to count residents in non-responsive communities, “As a result of Court’s orders, the October 5, 2020 target date is not operative, and data collection operations will continue through October 31, 2020. Employees should continue to work diligently and enumerate as many people as possible.” The defendants will also update all external and internal guidance. If they violate the order again, they will be subject to sanctions or contempt proceedings.
Census workers will conduct outreach doors through Oct. 31. Residents can complete the questionnaire online (www.my2020census.gov), by phone (1-844-330-2020/English and (844) 468-2020/Spanish), or by returning their census form via mail. Even though paper forms are only available in English and Spanish, residents can respond online or by phone in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people, including citizens and noncitizens, living in the United States. The 2020 Census asks nine questions of residents, including how many people live or stay in each home, and the sex, age, and race of each person in the home.
Census data is used to ensure representation in Congress is properly allocated. The data is also used to determine federal funding levels for housing, schools, hospitals, public safety, and other projects.
Westchester County’s Census 2020 Response Rate (68.8%) remains ahead of the U.S. (66.6%) and New York State (63.7%). With the Oct. 31 deadline in place, Westchester has additional time to dramatically increase its Census 2020 Response Rate.
Keep calm and join the count.