U.S. Census Bureau to Halt Counting Operation a Month Earlier than Expected

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that field data collection will end a full month earlier than originally planned.

It’s a sign that the Trump administration has abandoned its plan to extend the window for counting the nation’s population, which it earlier said needed to be longer because of the coronavirus pandemic. To be counted, households must complete the survey by September 30, rather than October 31, as the Census Bureau had announced when it adjusted plans due to the virus. The bureau will also end its labor-intensive efforts to knock on the doors of households that have not filled out the survey online, by paper form, or by phone.

The shift is part of an effort to “accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts” by the end of the year deadline, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in a statement.

You can read more in an article by Paul LeBlanc and Gregory Wallace, published in the CNN website at: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/03/politics/2020-census-field-collection-end-early/index.html.

11 Comments

David Paul Davenport August 11, 2020 at 2:56 am

The census form asks respondents to report where they lived as of April 1, 2020. As far as I am concerned even a cut-off of September 30 allows too much time. A bigger concern is that there was no “receipt” associated with completing the form and no penalty for failing to do so. Had I been in charge I would require respondents to show their receipt when they register to vote, etc etc. If U can’t be bothered to take five minutes to answer 7 questions U shouldn’t be allowed to avail yourself of a host of benefits from living in the US.

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The Census failed before it started.By recording non citizens the same as citizens the entire thing was rubbish for the purposes intended. I expect many protested by not responding.

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    The census has always counted non-citizens. The task assigned to it in the constitution is to count all people living in the US.

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The whole point of the census is fairness in the administration of government, to assure that the distribution of representation in Congress, the distribution of monies, etc., accrues equally to everyone. Yes, the circumstances today are exceptional, but that should lead our government to try harder to complete this important task, and not simply to give up.

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My understanding is that, in addition to everything else that has afflicted the Census, the work force assembled for use at this period in the process is quitting in record numbers due to fears of the virus. What can you do if you have no one to do the work? “Try harder” does not seem to be in their lexicon.

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    Exactly. Our primary election in March was grossly understaffed, both with election judges and personnel onsite in the county clerk’s office. November will be worse, now that the pandemic has spread even worse. I can understand why they can’t find enumerators to go door-to-door. Especially in bad neighborhoods

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The most important thing is to get the count right. If the census enumeration is more difficult because of the pandemic, then we need to find a way to get it right in time for the reapportionment of congressional districts before the 2022 mid-term elections. It’s not about benefits going individually to each person who fills out the census. It’s about the federal government, states, and localities to be able to allocate resources correctly based on the “whole number of persons” (the exact words in the Constitution) who live in each state. The roads wear out based on the number of people who drive over them, regardless of whether or not those people are citizens or whether they filled out the census form. Same thing will all other government services that need to be allocated based on population.

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I never received a census form to fill out and return by mail. It required a fair amount of research to find out how to submit the information on-line and I wouldn’t have been able to do that research if I were like my cousins who live in a sparsely populated rural area, without having ready access to the internet. Estimates reported in the news last week are that fewer than half the households in NY City (estimated population about 8 million people) had returned their census forms or provided their information on line. If the efforts to seek out and record all these people are cut short,, millions of future Americans are going to be severely disappointed when they are finally able to search the 2020 census information only to find their ancestors and their ancestors’ families are entirely missing.

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    We who live in wealthy nations in the 21st century all leave ample evidence of our whereabouts on many occasions and by many means. I don’t think the genealogists of the 22nd century will be dependent on census records for much of anything.

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    Much more important than the deficiency in records for future genealogists is that redistricting will be inaccurately done, and allocation of federal funds will not be proportional to population.

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    Conversely, in my town the response rate is (as of today) 85.8%. But then our residents are very obedient. I refused to complete the online version because it demanded my phone number and would not continue without it. The paper version came a few weeks later and, except again for the phone number, I did not have any issues answering the rest of the questions, of which there were not that many. Just the basics.

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