Census in the Time of COVID-19
U.S. Census Bureau Press Release May 22, 2020 — The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin to drop off 2020 Census questionnaire packets at front doors of households in Wisconsin in the week of May 25. This is done in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their physical address. The Census Bureau began hand-delivering census materials on March 15, but suspended all fieldwork for this operation on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temporary field staff have been trained to observe all social distancing protocols and will wear official government-provided personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public. This operation is contactless and follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines.
The health and safety of Census Bureau staff and the public is always a top priority.
The Census Bureau will deliver 2020 Census invitations and paper questionnaires at the front doors of roughly 5.1 million stateside households and 93,400 households in Wisconsin. This operation is crucial to ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities, which helps guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year.
People are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to the 2020 Census using the ID number included in the questionnaire packet. Responding with a census ID or the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community. People can respond online, by phone or by using the paper form in the packet.
For more information, please visit the 2020 Census COVID-19 operational adjustments page.
U.S. Census Bureau reports 2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19; the web article includes a handy map of Area Census Offices (ACOs) that are restarting operations.
Census Bureau to Resume Some 2020 Census Field Operations in Select Locations: As of 4/4/20 the U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin a phased restart of some 2020 Census field operations in select geographic areas.
U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham on Operational Updates: As of 3/18/20 U.S. Census Bureau suspends field operations for a minimum of two weeks. The public is strongly encouraged to respond to the 2020 Census online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and can also respond by phone or mail.
Why is Census 2020 so important?
The 2020 Census matters. Accurate counts influence Federal funding, U.S. Congressional representation, and what we know about the communities we serve.
An estimated 90% of the population will need to complete their Census 2020 form online. Library professionals will most likely be called upon to help people complete those forms. The U.S. Census Bureau may have already contacted you for meeting space, or help recruiting temporary employees, or finding volunteers. Please do all you can to say YES when the Census Bureau gets in touch. We realize that assistance in this effort might place extra demands on time and energy, so Public Library Development staff at DPI will be available to help Wisconsin library workers to be educated and ready for the census. Visit this site for information as it becomes available.
View this Public Service Announcement (PSA) to learn why accurate counts are so important. It explains how census data will affect congressional representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here's another quick explainer video about how to take the Census.
US Census Bureau: Census 2020
State of Wisconsin:
- Ways to participate: Census 2020 Say 'YES' to Wisconsin Counts
- American Library Association (ALA) Census 2020 resources
- Census 2020 Tip sheet (February 2020)
- Updated Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census (January 2020)
- 2020 Census: Key Facts for Libraries
- Libraries Working with Children Play an Important Role in 2020 Census (ALSC article)
- 2020 Census Online Survey Sneak Peek: Screen shots of the online Census shared by Community Connect Labs. Great for library staff to familarize themselves with this content before Census 2020 postcards are mailed to homes in mid March.
- South Central Library System: Census 2020 Outreach Information
- Wisconsin Valley Library System: Visuals & Public Information (ready to print)
- Recording of Wisconsin Census 2020 webinar