NATIONAL NEWS

2020 Census Bureau Site Goes Live As Counting Begins In Earnest

Mar 10, 2020, 1:29 PM
Photo: Census.gov...
Photo: Census.gov

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The 2020 census is off and running for much of America now.

The U.S. Census Bureau made a soft launch of the 2020 census website on Monday, making its form available online. On Thursday, the Census Bureau will begin mailing out notices far and wide.

For the bureau, the once-a-decade head count is akin to running a sprint and marathon at the same time. It takes awhile, but there’s plenty of action throughout.

“It is that intense …. counting up to 330 million people in a very diverse, very mobile population, and over 140 million housing units,” Stephen Buckner, a senior Census Bureau executive, said during a recent visit to Miami.

The bureau had an official in-person launch in January in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Mail service is spotty and internet connectivity is unreliable in remote Alaska, making door-to-door canvassing the best way to gather responses. The Alaska villages get a head start over the rest of the nation because many residents scatter each spring to subsistence hunting and fishing grounds.

There has been a U.S. census every decade since 1790. The results determine how many congressional seats each state gets and how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed.

The 2020 census is the first in which most people are being encouraged to answer the questions online, though people can still answer the questionnaire by telephone or by mailing back a paper form if they prefer.

The notices mailed out starting this week will include a census ID that matches addresses. People filling out the form via the internet are encouraged to use the ID, but those who answer the questions online before getting their IDs still will be counted.

“The best user experience is provided with a Census ID,” the bureau said in a statement Monday evening.

About 80% of households receiving mailings will get notices about how to answer the questions online, and about 20% of households automatically will receive a paper ballot if there are large numbers of seniors in their neighborhood or levels of internet connectivity are low.

Census workers won’t begin going door-to-door in earnest until May, when they’ll approach homes that haven’t responded and ask the questions in person. Bureau officials are monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus, which could disrupt the door-to-door phase. If there is a major disaster, such as an epidemic, census workers instead can drop off the questionnaires at homes, with the hope that people will respond on their own, according to the bureau’s operational plan.

Testifying before a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department oversees the Census Bureau, said the emphasis on getting people to respond online is minimizing physical contact that could spread the virus.

“We will just have to play it by ear,” Ross said. “We are ready to make responses and we will deal with the situation as it evolves.”

This week also poses the first true test of the Census Bureau’s new IT systems for capturing online responses. For the past three years, the Government Accountability Office has placed the census on its list of high-risk programs, mainly because it is relying on technology that has not been used before. Last month, the bureau decided to use a backup data-collection system for handling the online responses after officials grew concerned that the primary system would not be able to handle excessive traffic.

The online approach to answering the 2020 census questions causes Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass of California, to worry it will lead to an undercount of blacks and other minorities in hard-to-count communities.

“Having the census online can be a way of continuously undercounting the black population,” Bass said last week.

Perhaps the most attention given the 2020 census over the past several years has been to the failed effort by the Trump administration to put a citizenship question on the form. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected those efforts, but some worry that lingering unease may scare off some Hispanics and immigrants from participating.

“It’s a challenge every 10 years to get any American to fill out the census. Some people feel you’re invading their privacy, as though its intrusive. Some people are fearful of giving the government more information,” said U.S. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas. “But every 10 years, that challenge has been especially tough in minority communities, who sometimes are more disconnected from government than other communities.”

___

Adriana Gomez Licon contributed to this report from Miami.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Travelers at Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) ahead of the Thanksgiving ho...
Samantha Beech and Keith Allen, CNN

Thousands of US flights delayed Sunday as major storm system hampers travel

As of Sunday evening, 4,944 flights into, out of or within the United States have been delayed, according to FlightAware, and 163 US flights have been canceled, the website noted.
22 hours ago
A teenager has been charged as an adult after police claim he killed another young person and confe...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Police: Pennsylvania teenager confessed killing a girl on Instagram

A teenager has been charged as an adult after police claim he killed another young person and confessed on an Instagram video chat, asking for help disposing of the body
22 hours ago
A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between W...
Ben Morse and Wayne Sterling, CNN

Iran wants US team out of 2022 World Cup after it changes Iran flag on social media

Iran state media has called for the US to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation changed Iran's flag on its social media platforms to show support for protesters in Iran.
22 hours ago
Richard Fierro at his hime in Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 21, 2022. Fierro, who served as an Army...
Oren Liebermann, Eric Levenson and Travis Caldwell, CNN

Navy petty officer who helped disarm Colorado nightclub shooter speaks out for first time

Thomas James, one of the two men who helped disarm a shooter during last week's mass shooting inside Club Q in Colorado Springs, issued his first statement about his role in the attack on Sunday.
22 hours ago
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news briefing after the weekly Sen...
Daniella Diaz and Michelle Watson, CNN

A Democrat senator doesn’t believe they the votes for assault weapons ban

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said Senate Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed to advance an assault weapons ban bill but expressed optimism.
22 hours ago
Massive blue ice sculptures with a starry sky....
Brooke Williams

Ice castles are constructed by hand one icicle at a time

Cold temperatures means construction on the Ice Castles at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center has officially begun, and it's coming together one icicle at a time.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
2020 Census Bureau Site Goes Live As Counting Begins In Earnest