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2020 Census Count On Track Despite Coronavirus Concerns

View of Richmond from the James River
The Census Bureau has pushed back its deadline to compensate for delays from coronavirus. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

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*VPM intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported this story.

Despite concerns about the coronavirus, the census count is still moving forward. More than 18 million people have filled out the 2020 census so far. 

Around 18 percent of people in Richmond have responded, and almost 22 percent of all Virginians. The response rate in the commonwealth is just above the national average of 19 percent.

Tim Olson, the associate director of field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau, says deadlines have been pushed back so residents can continue to fill out the census online, over the phone or by mail. 

“Our original deadline to complete that data collection nationwide was July 31, and in our current plan, we have extended the completion of that data collection to August 14th,” Olson said.

Door-to-door operations have been suspended until at least April 1 in an effort to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. The census is encouraging all universities to submit electronic rosters to complete the count of university students living in on-campus dormitories.

The census is also asking all university students who live off campus and have temporarily moved back home to use their school address when filling out the census.

Olson says the in-person counts of those who live in school dormitories, nursing homes, jails and prisons, as well as those who are homeless, have been rescheduled for mid to late April.