Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau tries to count every person living in the U.S. This is that year, and April 1 is designated Census Day—meaning on your census form you should mark down where you live as of today.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, if you are filling out a census form for your home, you should count everyone who sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, whether you are related to them or not. If someone like a college student is only living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they should be counted where they would ordinarily be living.
Although the Census can be completed in a few minutes at home over the phone or internet, the onset of COVID-19 has presented a challenge for getting everyone to respond.
Loudoun’s Complete Count Committee, which was created to help get the most complete response out of Loudoun possible, has been hampered by the cancellation of public events and committee meetings. More than 60 community outreach events have been cancelled, many which were to be held at public schools; door-to-door outreach has been cancelled; and public spaces like libraries and community centers, where people without internet access at home would normally be able to respond online, are closed.
But localities have a vested interest in getting as many residents to respond as possible—in addition to helping determine what resources such as schools and fire stations a community needs, census counts also determine how much state and federal funding and support communities receive for those services.
“During this pandemic, many people are looking for ways to help their community,” stated Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), who is also the county’s chair of the Complete Count Committee. “One critical way to help Loudoun in the long term is to take 10 minutes and respond online to the 2020 census. Census Day should be a day that celebrates what makes Loudoun so great—our people.”
Census responses are confidential and by law cannot be shared with any government agency outside of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The census is available in 13 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
“In order to receive our fair share of resources that the federal government bases on the census, we must get an accurate count of everyone who lives in Loudoun County as of today,” Randall said. “It’s critical that each of us fulfills our responsibility to participate in the census and increase the county’s response rate as soon as possible.”
As of March 30, 2020, Loudoun’s response rate for the 2020 census is 47.4 percent.
Residents can respond to the census online, over the phone, or by mail—which the bureau encourages residents to do so that it doesn’t have to send census takers out into communities to follow up.
Online, residents should have by now received mail with instructions and a code to respond online. Residents can also access the census at 2020census.gov.
Reponses can be provided over the phone by calling 844-330-2020, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
And households will receive a paper form in the mail in April if a response has not yet been recorded from them.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the census response deadline has been extended to August 14.
More information, including a timeline of the census process, links to sample census forms, informational videos, language guides and more, may be found at loudoun.gov/2020Census.
Randall will hold a Facebook Live event on the census Thursday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at facebook.com/LoudounCountyVa. Members of the public will be able to ask questions about the census process.