‘Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census’

It seems like years have passed since we starting preparing for the 2020 census at libraries across the state! Since then, the nation has experienced many ups and downs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 census has continued to make headlines. In March, the Census Bureau had delayed field operations for the census until a new schedule was finalized. Data collection for the 2020 census is final on Sept.30, so now is the time to encourage the public to complete it if they haven’t already done so. Patrons can go online, call 844-330-2020 or mail back the form they received in the mail in order to complete the census. For patrons who speak languages other than English, see the responding by phone section on the census page. Census workers are now going door-to-door across the nation, making phone calls and sending email to those who haven’t responded. The goal is to get every single person counted by the deadline.

Because libraries have not been open, we’ve experienced a gap in our ability to promote the 2020 census. As we return to serving the public, libraries that are open by appointment can welcome patrons to answer the census at their library. Libraries not yet open can still create displays, offer handouts during curbside service and hang signs to encourage patrons to answer the 2020 census now. Libraries remain an essential part of the effort to notify the public that there is only one month left to finish this momentous task! We still have at least 20% of Hoosiers to count in September. Hoosiers depend on this once-in-a-decade count to shape the future of our legislative representation, public services and fiscal planning for all Indiana neighborhoods. The people won’t be counted one-by-one again until 2030.

For the past two years, 2020 census supporters have used creative strategies for reminding the public to answer the census. In Circle Pines, Minnesota, a city councilman dressed up as Census Man to bring attention to the importance of the 2020 census for apportionment. Not to be topped, the Chicago mayor announced last month that the Census Cowboy would arrive on horseback to help out in neighborhoods with low counts. It’s here that people will most need the public services funded using census counts. Here in Indiana, people can use our Race for a Complete Count graphics to view the progress of different areas of the state. If response rates aren’t measuring up in your part of Indiana, it’s not too late to make a difference. Our goal is to remind people as much as possible during this last month. Our Census in Indiana website is full of ideas and resources.

The new 2020 census deadline, while extended due to COVID-19, is still very tight. We need to amplify our message even louder for communities with low counts. We’ll share additional tools and tips on Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. in our webinar, “Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census.” Register for the webinar here. You can help census response in your community by requesting a partnership specialist from the Census Bureau to set up a mobile questionnaire assistance event. Census workers will set up socially-distanced tables for online response to the census on site. Contact the Indiana State Data Center for details.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

2020 census operations continue; self-response deadline extended

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic created delays in the Census Bureau’s 2020 census operations, the 2020 census continues to move forward. Because of the pause due to the pandemic, it is important for librarians to get the word out that it’s not too late to participate in the census. U.S. residents now have until Oct. 31 to use self-response methods to complete the forms for their households.Beginning on Aug. 11, the Census Bureau plans to send out workers for the non-response follow-up part of census operations. Census workers will be clearly identified as they go door-to-door to visit homes. They will operate through Oct. 31 to help residents complete questionnaires until every household is counted.

This means July is a key month to remind library patrons to count their own households before a census worker comes to their door. Librarians can instruct patrons to follow the steps below in order to help them complete the census:

  • Go to the Census Bureau’s online portal and enter the Census ID they received in the mail. If they don’t have a Census ID, click the button that says Start Questionnaire, then click the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” and follow the prompts.

OR

  • Call the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 for English, or at 844-468-2020 for Spanish. For deaf assistance and languages other than English, see responding by phone.

OR

  • Fill out the 2020 Census form they received in the mail and mail it back.

It’s that easy, and it should only take 10 minutes!

It is important to continue providing information about the 2020 census to ensure a complete and accurate count of our communities. This once-per-decade count will determine political representation, federal and state funding and planning decisions for the next 10 years. Find outreach materials on the Census Bureau’s website and Indiana’s 2020 Census website.

Library patrons might also be interested in 2020 census jobs being offered by the Census Bureau. Patrons can apply for jobs here.

The State Data Center at the Indiana State Library is here to help you with questions and further outreach through Oct. 31. Contact us here.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to chair Indiana 2020 Census Complete Count Committee

Here at the Indiana State Library, our Indiana State Data Center Program has had an official partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau since 1978. We share statistical information and talk about the importance of access to good public data on a daily basis. Each decade, however, our efforts with the Census Bureau ramp up and we help “count everyone once, only once, in the right place” as of Census Day, April 1. The State of Indiana includes multiple stakeholders who take part in this effort.

On Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will lead Indiana’s statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The goal of the committee is to encourage all Hoosiers to answer the census. Indiana’s CCC kick-off meeting will be Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern in the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. You are invited. Register for the meeting here

The 2020 Census will be the very first census that provides online response. People can answer via their smartphones, use their home computers and laptops or go to their local library and use a public computer terminal. Because of this, libraries will see increased traffic next year during March and April. Indiana librarians will receive questions about what the census does and why the Census Bureau counts people. We will need to provide help with how it’s done.

This May, the American Library Association released its Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census. It explains the importance of the 2020 Census and also addresses the risks that we face if groups of people are undercounted in 2020. This is the reason that CCCs and promotional campaigns carry weight. Our efforts will impact the accuracy and completeness of next year’s count. Libraries are trusted voices, and librarians can make efforts to prepare ourselves to inform our communities.

Start learning about the census with Census Bureau’s Shape Your Future. Start Here website. Get details about promoting the census locally on the 2020 Census in Indiana website. Register and attend the CCC kick-off on Monday, Aug. 19 to learn more!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.