Report: People with limited internet access at risk of being missed in 2020 census because of social distancing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new government report said people with limited internet access are at risk of getting missed in the population count for the 2020 census because of social distancing limiting door-to-door contact.

If someone ignores the multiple notices and does not fill out the form online, workers would typically show up at your door, but that is limited because of COVID-19.

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said: “If social distancing measures result in fewer successful interviews during non-response follow-up, for instance, then these groups with less internet access will be at relatively greater risk of being missed by the census.”


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The Census Bureau is still doing field operations at select locations and said it is following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report said the bureau is using targeted ads to reach hard-to-count communities including the homeless, rural residents and non-English speaking people to do its best to make sure every person is counted.

"Responding to the 2020 census is something you can do from the safety of your home and practicing social distancing,” Steven Dillingham, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said in an advertisement encouraging people to fill out the form online.

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In response to the GAO report, Dillingham wrote, “The Census Bureau invested heavily in a robust partnership program and has secured nearly 350,000 national and community partners across the nation that reach into almost every household in some way.”

The data from the 2020 census is critical because it determines how much money is given to schools, hospitals, roads and more.

It also determines congressional districts.

People have until Oct. 31 to self-respond to the census.