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.

  • 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 2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. The main image accompanying the above guest column shows Dillingham testifying at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in Washington in February, 2020. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)


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