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New Census Surveys Will Track the Impact of the Coronavirus

Agency will measure the pandemic's effects on families and small businesses

Census forms next to a computer

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En español | The U.S. Census Bureau has launched two new weekly surveys to measure the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on families and small businesses during the next few months. These new surveys are going out to homes even while the agency works to complete its full count of the U.S. population for the 2020 Census.

While every household is legally required to complete the survey for the 2020 Census count, completion of the two new polls — Household Pulse Survey or the Small Business Pulse Survey — is voluntary. Federal agencies will use the data from the two new surveys to shape the government's real-time response to the health care and economic crisis the new coronavirus has caused.

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The Household Pulse Survey (HPS) is a 20-minute online survey that will ask people about how the pandemic has affected their physical and mental health, access to health care, jobs, spending patterns and housing. The survey also asks if the temporary shutdowns to deter the spread of the virus has limited the household's access to food or disrupted schooling.

"In order to support the nation's recovery, we need to know the ways this pandemic has affected people's lives and livelihoods,” the bureau says. “Data from this survey will show the widespread effects of COVID-19 on individuals, families and communities across the country."

The bureau will randomly select people to participate in the HPS based on your address. If you are selected, you will receive an email from with a link to complete the survey. The bureau may send you follow-up reminders if you do not respond to the initial survey request. All emails from the bureau will include in the email address and all of the information in your responses will be kept confidential.

The second new questionnaire, the Small Business Pulse Survey, each week will be sent to 100,000 businesses with fewer than 500 employees. It asks questions about closures, changes in staffing, supply chain disruptions, the use of federal assistance and expectations about future operations.

The data from the HPS is planned to be posted weekly beginning in mid-May and is expected to include estimates for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as for the nation's 15 largest urban areas.

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