Census Bureau to Restart Operations in Rural Areas of Country
After suspending most of its operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau announced Monday it plans to restart some of its fieldwork in rural areas around the country.
Those operations had been delayed through early June, but agency officials said employees would start to hand-deliver invitations to complete the census to homes later this week in parts of 13 states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
The Census Bureau does not mail invitations to areas that have post office boxes instead of street addresses. Many rural areas also do not have internet access that can be used to respond to the census.
In Monday’s announcement, the agency said that field staff would receive “safety training to observe social distancing protocols” and personal protective equipment.
The agency will open about two dozen offices around the country that fall under the “Update/Leave” category of hand delivery. The announcement does not cover Puerto Rico, where operations have also stalled amid the pandemic.
Al Fontenot, the director of the agency’s decennial programs, had previously said the agency may start to phase in operations throughout the country depending on local conditions.
The Census Bureau said it will spin up both mail delivery and hiring in those local offices, making decisions about each local office on an individual basis going forward.
Response rates in rural areas of the country have lagged behind the national rate, which currently stands at more than 56%, over the past two months.
Last month, the Census Bureau said it would pause most operations until at least the start of June. The agency also requested a 120-day deadline extension from Congress, which has not yet been acted on.
©2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
WASHINGTON - Democrats attacked the president’s plan to exclude illegal immigrants from the 2020 Census during a congressional hearing Wednesday while Republicans said they wanted to prevent foreign influence. The House Oversight Committee held what it called an “emergency hearing” to respond to a July 21... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed his administration to exclude immigrants who are in the United States illegally when calculating how many seats in Congress each state gets after the current census, a decision that critics denounced as unconstitutional and one that will likely... Read More
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday barring people in the U.S. illegally from being counted in congressional reapportionment. The Supreme Court last year blocked the administration's effort to add a citizenship question to the census form, with a majority saying the administration's rationale... Read More
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday unveiled an unusual plan to encourage Chicagoans to participate in the U.S. government’s once-a-decade push to count every U.S. resident: a cowboy on a horse. The mayor was speaking at a press conference when a man in torn denim and... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau will plan a “final push” outreach effort this month to encourage many communities that haven’t responded to the census to do so, the agency said Wednesday during an update of plans amid a coronavirus pandemic that continues to spike in pockets... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration added two political appointees to the Census Bureau in newly created positions Tuesday, increasing concerns among census experts and Democrats that the largely apolitical data agency may be tipping to Republican advantage. The Census Bureau announced that Nathaniel Cogley, an assistant professor of political... Read More