April 1 is Census Day– a key reference date for the 2020 Census! Since 1790, every ten years (in years ending in “0” like 2020), the U.S. Census Bureau has done Census counts for the United States and territories. For this Census, each home received an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail—between March 12-20. When completing the census, respondents should include everyone living in the home on April 1, 2020.
Why bother answering the Census? An accurate count of the population is critical to defining and shaping important infrastructure investments– for example: schools, roads, and hospitals. Federal funding and projects are allocated based on the demand and need associated with census data. Accurate census data is also essential for emergency response–for instance, in this pandemic situation that we find ourselves in, certain populations are more vulnerable than others. You can find even more reasons for Census season here.
- March 12: People started receiving Census information about how to respond and will be “invited” to participate either online or by paper questionnaire.
- April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
- April 8: Reminder letters and forms sent to those who haven’t responded start arriving
- May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
- August 14: The last day to respond for most people. You can complete your Census questionnaire here.
- December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
- March 31: By this date, the Census Bureau plans to send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
How Georgia is doing?
As of March 31st, only about 33 percent of Georgians have self-responded to the 2020 Census, just under the national level of 34 percent. The Urban Institute projects that as many as 177,000 Georgia residents may be undercounted in 2020. Low response rate may result in bias results with poor data quality. For the 2010 Census, the response rate in Georgia was 62.5 percent, which was lower than the national average response rate (66.5 percent). The speed and extent of the spread of coronavirus, along with social distancing procedures, pose a unique challenge for data collection in the 2020 Census. Without concentrated efforts, 2020 response rates could fall quite a bit from 2010 levels. Undercount, and underfunding, could be the result.