ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau is delaying the deadline for counting everyone in the U.S. by two weeks because of the spreading novel coronavirus, officials said.
The 2020 census had been scheduled to stop at the end of July, but the deadline has now been extended to mid-August, said Tim Olson, an associate director for field operations at the bureau.
Most U.S. residents started being able to respond to the 2020 census last week when the bureau’s website went live and people started receiving notices to participate in the mail. As of Friday, 18.6 million households had answered the questionnaire, primarily online, said Al Fontenot, the bureau’s associate director for decennial programs.
That accounts for 14 percent of total households in the U.S., according to Census Bureau figures released Friday. Midwestern states — Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas — had the highest response rates in the first week or so that most of the U.S. was able to start taking the census. Alaska, West Virginia and Montana had the lowest response rates.
This is the first once-a-decade census in which most people are being encouraged to fill out their form online, although people can still respond by telephone or by mailing back a form.