Step Up and Be Counted: It’s Census Time

Image provided by Census Bureau
The deadline to fill out the 2020 census has been extended to August.


April 1 was Census Day, which means people were to respond as to where they live as of April 1. As of March 31 at 2:30 p.m., 37.9% of Californians self-responded to the request to complete the 2020 census. However, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended the 2020 census self-response date to Aug. 14.

By now most households in California have received their census envelope or “invitation” card. There are several ways people can respond to the census, either online, through the U.S. Postal Service or via the phone. [Information on all of these options are listed at the end of this article].

All field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau have stopped in accordance with the COVID-19 federal, state and local health guidelines, said Patricia Ramos, spokeswoman, U.S. Census Bureau. This means at present the U.S. Census Bureau is not sending anyone out to residences regarding completing the census questionnaire.

It is important for everyone in California and across the nation to complete the 2020 census. The data collected determines future support for funding from, as well as representation in, the federal government.

“The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Responding to the 2020 census is easy, safe and important, and is key to shaping the future of communities. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs legislative district boundaries. [It] also informs how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers to communities for public services and infrastructure like hospitals, emergency services, schools and bridges each year over the next 10 years,” according to a U.S. Census Bureau press release.

The first census in the United States was taken in 1790 and steadily expanded throughout the 19th century. By the turn of the century, the demographic, agricultural and economic segments of the decennial census collected information on hundreds of topics. In 1902, Congress enacted legislation creating a permanent Census Office within the Dept. of the Interior. The following year the census was moved to the newly created Dept. of Commerce and Labor. It remained within Commerce when Commerce and Labor split into separate departments in 1913, according to the Census Bureau website.

The Census’ website has a variety of information ranging from facts about the census to how to avoid frauds and scams and how to fill out the census online, which takes about seven minutes on average.

The Census Bureau is strongly encouraging the public to respond to the 2020 Census and strongly encourages using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. People can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages.

When responding:

• Respond for where you live as of April 1 (Census Day).

• Include everyone who usually lives and sleeps in your home as of April 1, even if they are staying somewhere else temporarily. This includes relatives, friends, roommates and anyone else who lives and sleeps in your home most of the time – even children under age 5 and babies born on or before April 1, even if they are still in the hospital.

• Students not living at home will be counted where they live while at school. If they live on campus in university/college housing such as dorms or fraternity/sorority houses, they will be counted by school officials and do not need to respond. However, if they live off-campus in private housing or apartments, they should respond to the census on their own using their off-campus address even if they are currently staying elsewhere.

On the forms that have been sent out to residents is a census ID that will be requested when completely the questionnaire. If a person does not have that number he/she can contact the Census Bureau for guidance. The telephone number is (844) 330-2020. For a list of language support for the census, visit

As of March 31 at 2:30 p.m. Los Angeles County census self-response was 34.1%, 42.0% in Glendale, 50% in La Cañada Flintridge and only 29.4% in Los Angeles.