Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Covid-19 and Census Day 2020

Today (April 1) is Census Day. While not a deadline for responses, census day is a key reference date for the 2020 Census because, when you respond, you'll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020, and include everyone who usually lives and sleeps in your home. 

The intitial roll out of the Census has been plagued with a global health pandemic that complicates the already difficult effort to obtain an accurate and comprehensive count. Individuals are generally more reluctant to open their doors to strangers during the pandemic – which encourages social distancing – and the government has needed to recalibrate its efforts and rely more heavily on online data collection that routinely leaves out poor and minority communities. It remains to be seen whether the government’s planned nonresponse follow-up will be curtailed, and whether nongovernmental community outreach will be suppressed with the reallocation of resources precipitated by the health crisis but initial indications are not promising. Already some offices have closed. And hiring of census workers has been delayed. Moreover, immigrant communities are especially impacted by worry and sickness related to covid-19 because of their fears that testing for the virus or pursuing health care will negatively impact them in the public charge rule.

In light of these concerns, a coalition of more than 275 civic leaders, non-profit organizations, elected officials, state and local groups led by MALDEF is pledging to help monitor and protect the confidentiality of 2020 Census data and working hard to mobilize census praticipation among immigrants. 


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