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The 2020 Census: Make Sure You’re Counted

Deadline to complete tally of all U.S. residents is moved up to Sept. 30

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Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Jo Ann Jenkins

En españa | With the country still in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election campaign ramping up into full swing, the 2020 census has not been on the radar of many Americans. With less than two months to go, nearly 4 in 10 Americans are still uncounted.

We strongly believe that everyone should be counted in the census. The census is not only required by the U. S. Constitution, it is used to determine congressional representation and draw congressional and state legislative districts. When you respond to the census, you help your community get its fair share of the hundreds of billions in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs every year. And businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which creates jobs and generates economic activity while also helping industry reduce financial risk and locate potential markets.

Census information also helps health providers predict the spread of diseases through communities with children or elderly people. And when disasters hit, the census tells rescuers how many people will need their help.  


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Even though some census work got a late start this year due to the coronavirus, the Census Bureau announced this month that the deadline for people to complete survey forms for the 2020 census has been moved up to Sept. 30, a month sooner than the previous end date of Oct. 31. This includes door-knocking efforts as well as responses collected online, over the phone and by mail — all of which are more complicated now because of the pandemic. This new date is in response to what the bureau calls its need “to accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts by our statutory deadline of December 31.”

AARP has joined nearly 900 organizations in signing on to a letter from the Census Project requesting that Congress grant an extension of census operations so that the Census Bureau is not forced to rush remaining enumeration operations and critical data review, processing and tabulation activities.

At AARP, we’re encouraging everyone to participate in the census. We’ve initiated a nationwide outreach strategy to raise awareness and ultimately increase participation in the 2020 census, and we’re leveraging our communications channels to get the word out through the conclusion of the census. So, if you haven’t already completed your census form, please take the time to do so, or, if a census taker comes knocking on your door, please answer the questions and make sure you’re counted. It takes only a few minutes, and it will help ensure that your community has the opportunity to receive all the funding, resources and House seats it’s due over the next 10 years.

For more information, see Your Step-by-Step Guide to Completing the 2020 Census on aarp.org.

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