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 - There's no question that the once-every-10-year process of redistricting is off to a slow start. Though the U.S. Census Bureau ended its collection of data for the 2020 census on Oct. 15, 2020, it missed the December statutory deadline for the delivery of apportionment... Read More
The human loss from the coronavirus will not be reflected in the 2020 census because of a matter of timing, which could save a congressional seat for New York but cost Alabama one. Because the start of the pandemic in the U.S. and the April 1... Read More
Attorneys for a coalition of municipalities and advocacy groups that had sued the Trump administration over accuracy concerns about the 2020 census say they're hopeful about reaching an agreement with the new Biden administration as both sides take a more cooperative approach. Attorneys for the coalition... Read More
WASHINGTON - New Census Bureau estimates show 16 states saw population declines last year as the nation experienced its slowest overall growth since the Great Depression, a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis shows. According to the analysis, which first appeared on the Trusts' Stateline Daily, the... Read More
Facing criticism that he was acceding to President Donald Trump's demand to produce citizenship information at the expense of data quality, U.S. Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham said Monday that he planned to resign with the change in presidential administrations. Dillingham said in a statement that... Read More
A Trump administration attorney said Monday that the numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets won’t be ready until February, putting in jeopardy an effort by President Donald Trump to exclude people in the country illegally from those figures. The U.S. Census... Read More