Pandemic Impels Changes in U.S. Census Process

Paul Jo, Staff Writer

Every 10 years here in the United States, the federal government counts every resident; this process is also known as the U.S. Census mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The U.S. Census is a very important aspect of our democratic process.

According to The 2020 Census, the census “counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties, and impacts communities’ vital programs such as housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy.” The idea is to be able to provide more funding to the areas with a higher volume of the population compared to the more rural and less dense parts of the country. The logic behind this year’s online census option is so they can collect more accurate data, more easily collect and process the data, and reach broader cultural groups. With the information collected, they can analyze the different patterns of residency of a selected area such as ethnicity groups, religious groups, economic classes, and how the funding can be used to improve the lives of the residents of the United States.

This year is a census year and for the first time in history, we can respond to the census online from any device, mail, or even by telephone. The U.S. Census sent out invitations to respond accordingly between March 12-20, 2020 and planned to send out census takers to personally take count of residents. However, due to the pandemic currently causing major changes, they have suspended sending out census takers, and have revised the due dates to respond back. If you have not received the invitation in the mail, that does not mean you have to wait for it or you can’t respond. The invitations are more of a reminder than an actual invitation to respond. The opportunity to respond online has made the ability to be counted in the 2020 Census a lot easier and accessible.

President Donald Trump attempted to add a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census; however, this was blocked by the Supreme Court. This was the first time in the current form of the Census that the attempt to add this question was introduced. This can cause more fear and anxiety surrounding responding to the Census. With more exposure and knowledge spread the more people can participate and help the goals of the U.S. Census.