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Census 2020: Wisconsin Counts

Census in the Time of COVID-19

October 20, 2020: data collection for the 2020 Census ended on October 15, 2020. After several weeks of uncertainty and back-and-forth court decisions, census-taking is now closed and residents can no longer respond to the 2020 Census.

Residents might receive follow-up visits or calls as the Census Bureau works to verify responses.

As of October 19, 99.98% of all housing units and addresses nationwide were accounted for in the 2020 Census with 67.0% accounted for through self-response online, by phone or by mail, and 32.9% accounted for through the Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) operation.

In all states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, more than 99% of all addresses have been accounted for, and in all but one state that number tops 99.9%. Check out how many households in your community completed the 2020 Census.

Review of 2020 Census Operational Plan--August 18, 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a presentation that provides partners, stakeholders, and the public updates on the 2020 Census Operational Plan. The review illustrates some of the ways they are adapting operations to ensure a complete and accurate count by the statutory deadline of December 31, 2020.

Statement from U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham: Delivering a Complete and Accurate 2020 Census Count--August 3, 2020 update

The U.S. Census Bureau continues to evaluate its operational plans to collect and process 2020 Census data. Today, we are announcing updates to our plan that will include enumerator awards and the hiring of more employees to accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts by our statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, as required by law and directed by the Secretary of Commerce. The Census Bureau’s new plan reflects our continued commitment to conduct a complete count, provide accurate apportionment data, and protect the health and safety of the public and our workforce.

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  • Complete Count: A robust field data collection operation will ensure we receive responses from households that have not yet self-responded to the 2020 Census.
    • We will improve the speed of our count without sacrificing completeness. As part of our revised plan, we will conduct additional training sessions and provide awards to enumerators in recognition of those who maximize hours worked. We will also keep phone and tablet computer devices for enumeration in use for the maximum time possible.
    • We will end field data collection by September 30, 2020. Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing. Under this plan, the Census Bureau intends to meet a similar level of household responses as collected in prior censuses, including outreach to hard-to-count communities.
  • Accurate Data and Efficient Processing: Once we have the data from self-response and field data collection in our secure systems, we plan to review it for completeness and accuracy, streamline its processing, and prioritize apportionment counts to meet the statutory deadline. In addition, we plan to increase our staff to ensure operations are running at full capacity.
  • Flexible Design: Our operation remains adaptable and additional resources will help speed our work. The Census Bureau will continue to analyze data and key metrics from its field work to ensure that our operations are agile and on target for meeting our statutory delivery dates. Of course, we recognize that events can still occur that no one can control, such as additional complications from severe weather or other natural disasters. 
  • Health and Safety: We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our workforce and the public. Our staff will continue to follow Federal, state, and local guidance, including providing appropriate safety trainings and personal protective equipment to field staff. 

The Census Bureau continues its work on meeting the requirements of Executive Order 13880 issued July 11, 2019 and the Presidential Memorandum issued July 21, 2020. A team of experts are examining methodologies and options to be employed for this purpose. The collection and use of pertinent administrative data continues.

We are committed to a complete and accurate 2020 Census. To date, 93 million households, nearly 63 percent of all households in the Nation, have responded to the 2020 Census. Building on our successful and innovative internet response option, the dedicated women and men of the Census Bureau, including our temporary workforce deploying in communities across the country in upcoming weeks, will work diligently to achieve an accurate count.

We appreciate the support of our hundreds of thousands of community-based, business, state, local and tribal partners contributing to these efforts across our Nation.  The 2020 Census belongs to us all. If you know someone who has not yet responded, please encourage them to do so today online at, over the phone, or by mail.

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.

For questions about this information, contact Cindy Fesemyer (608) 266-8053