Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the standard timelines for the 2020 U.S. Census have been pushed back approximately three months and, in some cases, more.
Many of the timelines for collecting Census data were focused on April and May, but much of the country was shut down during that period, so new timelines have been established. They are as follows:
Self-Response Phase – March 12-Oct. 31. The online, phone or mailed self-response will continue throughout the data collection process. That phase was initially expected to run from March 12-July 11.
Nonresponse Follow-up – Aug. 11 to Oct. 31. Census takers will conduct in-person interviews with households that did not self-respond to the Census. That period was initially scheduled from May 13-July 31.
Enumeration at Transitory Locations – Sept. 3-28. Census takers count people staying at campgrounds, RV parks and hotels if they not usually live elsewhere. This was previously scheduled from April 9-May 4.
Count of People Experiencing Homelessness – Sept. 22-24. The Census Bureau plans to send specially trained Census takers to count people known to sleep outdoors and at all-night businesses. That was originally planned for April 1.
Process Apportionment Counts – Oct. 31-April 30, 2021. Census Bureau experts run and review output from programs to find duplicate responses, determine final housing unit status and populate any missing housing unit date on household size. This was initially slated to be done between July 31-Dec. 31, 2020.
Deliver Apportionment Counts to the President – by April 30, 2021. By law, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This was scheduled to happen by Dec. 30, 2020.
Process Redistricting Data – May 1-July 1, 2021. Census Bureau experts run and review programs to populate any missing demographic data for each household, run differential privacy programs to ensure confidentiality and run tabulation programs for each state delivery. This was scheduled to happen between Jan. 1-March 30, 2021.
Just about every aspect of daily life has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the work of tabulating populations throughout the county has been delayed several months, the hope is that all the work will be completed by July 1, 2021 – three months later than scheduled.