Do conjoined twins count as one or two people?
If they have two names we count each of them.
What do you think is the most important work that is done with the census information?
The apportionment of the House of Representatives would have to rank high. But there's lots of decisions made by the government and the private sector that effect our every day lives that are based on census data. These include distribution of federal funding for roads, schools and infrastructure but also decisions by businesses where to invest and create jobs.
I did the Census online at the official site, three weeks ago.
But I'm still getting reminder notices to do the Census?
If you used your census ID to respond to the Census, you'll be removed from future mailings. Please disregard any mailings you get as those may have come to you after we received your response.
Was the decision to make Census Day on April Fools' something that people debated internally? Did anyone discuss or estimate the magnitude of bad data generated by people deciding to have a bit of a laugh at your expense?
I mean, my hunch would be that it's an insignificant effect. But when you run a critically important, once-a-decade statistical exercise, it's a question I'd expect to be taken seriously.
(FWIW, I always complete my census forms in good faith regardless of the date!)
Census day has been April first for many many decades. I've wondered about that too, but Census Day is determined by the Census Act.
What's up with the question that asks what kind of "white" you are? This seems to be new for 2020. What is the Census Bureau wanting to use this data for?
This is new for the 2020 census. Previously we didn’t have a write-in category for White or Black, but had detailed category options for other categories like Asian. Public feedback over the past decade showed strong interest from respondents to be able to self-identify their detailed racial/ethnic background, such as German, Irish, Lebanese, etc., as other groups have been able to do for the past several censuses. Providing detailed response options has allowed respondents to more accurately self-identity, whereas they otherwise do not identify with the minimum racial categories. Detailed data on race and ethnicity for White populations will provide insights for communities that have never received this information before on a 100% basis from the decennial census. So now, people of European, Middle Eastern, and North African heritage may now report their detailed identities and have detailed tabulations for their population groups.
What would you most like to tell us that no one ever asks about?
I am the co-founder of the longest running coffee club inside the Census Bureau. Since the early 2000s, I’ve had over 7,000 cups of coffee – and if I get to 10,000 I’m going to retire 😉
No one asks me the color of my shed... it’s green and yellow (Go Ducks!). Census Bureau address listers thought it was a housing unit, but there was no electricity power coming from it.
I was hired by the Census and got fingerprinted, but haven’t heard anything from my district office. I know things are in flux because of COVID but is there any way I can help? I am one of the workers who actually want to work to help because of civic and national duty reasons, so I want to know what I can do to help but I realize my district may be overwhelmed.
We have suspended field activities including our hiring. Once we understand from local and federal health authorities it's okay to go back in the field your area census office will contact you. In addition to practicing social distancing, one way you can help is by letting people know that they can respond on their own without having a census taker visit them.
How do you know when you’ve counted everyone?
The Census is address based, and once we've determined the status and pop count for every address in the country we are done. We also have special operations for people that don't live in traditional housing units. Curious about how we're doing? You can check the response rate here: https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html
Hello What's your take on "differential privacy" concerns? Now more so given the current scramble to bring appropriate resources to cities/counties/states? Regards
We take our commitment to high quality data products and maintain the confidentiality of respondent very seriously, and we’re confident we can strike a balance between quality and privacy. We’ve already been using differential privacy on our “OnTheMap” application for several years.
We’ve also recently introduced differential privacy into post secondary education outcomes (PSEO) that allows families and students to examine earnings by degree field when planning their educational decisions.
In collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, we are working with a wide range of data users to ensure privacy and quality with the 2020 Census data products.
How do you account for people who might accidentally get counted twice? For instance, my roommate’s dad counted his son as living with him and had I not double checked I would have put him down for my residence as well.
If parents have already counted their college student at home, it is ok. We have processes in place to deal with situations where a student is counted more than once. As a reminder, if the college student lives in student housing, the college will count the student. If the college student lives off campus, the student should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there. As a matter of fact, my daughter completed the census for she and her off-campus roommates, even though they’re all now at their parent’s homes given that the campus is closed. Off-campus students can respond online without their Census ID if they do not have it.
Hi I run a domestic violence residential program in southern california. I was contacted about a month ago by someone from the census who said I would be receiving a packet so I could count our residents. It never arrived. We have 25 families here and I would like for them to be counted. How can I get a packet? Thanks!
You should be hearing from us soon. We have delayed this operation and are asking service providers, like yourself, to provide a paper listing of census responses for each person staying at the facility. If you don’t hear from us soon you can go to ask.census.gov and they’ll direct your message to the appropriate office.
Hi Ron! As a minority and a millennial, I think the Census is probably the least talked about civic duty. Why do you think educators (both in high schools and higher education) aren’t emphasizing how important this is? Do you have any suggestions on how to relay how important answering the census is to people my age and from my community, the ones who arguable benefit most from it?
PS. Praying for your mental health because people on reddit are edgelordy and insane, hang in there during this Ask me anything!
Millennials are exactly the age group that should see the value of the census, kind of like voting right? You are the ones who are using the services. Schools, roads and access to jobs are all really important things that come from the use of census data. We also have materials that educators can use now (even in distance learning) to educate their students on the importance of the census. https://www.census.gov/schools
Are there plans to use more administrative records to assist with non-responding households due to coronavirus?
As we monitor COVID-19, we're examining how we can ensure that we get a complete and accurate census. Additional use of administrative records is one of the options we're looking at. The best thing to know though is that people can respond to the census online, by phone or by mail now. Visit 2020census.gov!
What specific protections and punishments are there to prevent the misuse of census data?
Famously, during WW2 we used the census to help round up Japanese Americans, and more recently they used the census to target Arab Americans (although those were statistics aggregated at a zipcode level).
What prevents Trump from using the census to target illegal immigrants? Would it be an impeachable offense to order the census bureau to hand over detailed records?
The Census Bureau by law does not share the information we collect in an identifiable form with anybody. My Census Bureau colleagues and I can go to jail or be fined if I willfully disclose your information. The information we collect from American households and businesses is used only for statistical purposes.
I had a child today. Should they be counted in the census?
Congratulations! Yes, you should count newborn babies at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they are still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.
How is COVID changing the existing plans for census taking?
We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We’re working with national, state and local health authorities as we continue conducting the 2020 Census and other important surveys. We are adjusting some operations with two key principles in mind: protecting the health and safety of our staff and the public and fulfilling our statutory requirement to deliver the 2020 Census counts to the President on schedule. Keep updated with our operational adjustments here:
I'm surprised that the census form doesn't ask a few more questions. All that seems to be covered is age, gender and race. Obviously a citizen question is out. That was a fiasco. But are there any other questions that you feel should be asked?
We want to make the census as easy for everyone to complete as possible. We do have other surveys that collect more detailed information but that’s only sent to a select number of households each year. Those surveys are just as important so if you get something like the American Community Survey please fill it out.
We were sent census info to our PO Box and our street address. My husband filled out the street address one online. We threw the other one away. Are we going to be harassed now?
You should be good! Using your street address is the proper way to respond to the census.
What are your thoughts on the role that the Census plays in prison gerrymandering, where prisoners are counted as residents of the prison for allocation of representation but don’t get to vote?
The Census Bureau is a statistical agency and our job is to produce the most accurate statistics about our nation. The states use this information to redraw congressional districts and the Census plays no role in redrawing the boundaries. We plan to provide states with tools to help them “move” inmates back to where they lived before incarceration, if they choose to do so.
I tried filling out the census form earlier today. However, I am one of 6+ roommates living in a house. I don't have a clue what their biological sexes are or their origins or races. We're not particularly close, but we live at the same address. I wasn't able to fill out the census online because the online form requires that someone's race and biological sex be known. Is there a way to skip this on the paper form?
My daughter did this for her college roommates and also didn't know all of the information either. Fill the census out as completely as possible, but your roommates could go in and use your address to fill out the census too. Don't worry we know how to compile all of your responses to ensure a complete count for your address.
What color is your toothbrush?
White and green! Too bad there's not a 2020 Census toothbrush.
Due to staffing adjustments driven by guidance from federal, state and local health authorities regarding COVID-19, we are working to mitigate the impact on 2020 Census call centers. In limited instances, these staffing adjustments have led to increases in call wait times, affecting different languages at different times. Testing the number can contribute to added wait time too. Thank you for continuing to support the 2020 Census. Paper forms are coming soon to those who have yet to respond.
Will furloughed workers remain getting paid through 4/15/2020. My CSM said only until 4/3/2020? Thank You
Every situation is different - and the guidance Is evolving. You can contact your area census office for more info. You'll be notified through your regional management and email notifications.
How come occupation isn't a question asked?
We ask about the occupation in other surveys, like the American Community Survey. Here’s some stats on occupation here: https://www.census.gov/topics/employment/industry-occupation.html
Why did the census send my first and second notice in less than a week? I received the first notice on Friday (dated for the Thursday) and the second on Monday. This seems like a crazy waste of resources.
The sequence of mailers is designed to increase response rates. Everyone receives two letters in the mail. For those who don’t respond we’ll send additional reminders.
What’s going on with Differential Privacy for 2020 census? Has there been a privacy budget established? So far the test data showed minority communities completely removed or reduced. We are concerned on what impact this will have on resources those communities need as well as gerrymandering effects.
Can we have a bit more insight into why we need DP? From my understanding, backtracking the data only showed if someone is white vs nonwhite and nothing more identifiable than that. We believe our understanding of privacy needs to change. Especially with the rapid developments in AI and machine learning.
We take our commitment to high quality data products and maintain the confidentiality of respondent very seriously, and we’re confident we can strike a balance between quality and privacy. In collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, we are working with a wide range of data users to ensure privacy and quality with the 2020 Census data products. Keep updated on our differential privacy research here: https://www.census.gov/about/policies/privacy/statistical_safeguards.html
I filled mine out online today and it was fairly quick and painless. Longest part was typing in each member of my family's specific heritage (under the option for 'White'). Why does that matter? What is the data used for? Thanks!
This is new for the 2020 census. Public feedback over the past decade showed strong interest from respondents to be able to self-identify their detailed racial/ethnic background, such as German, Irish, Lebanese, etc., as other groups have been able to do for the past several censuses. Providing detailed response options has allowed respondents to more accurately self-identity, whereas they otherwise do not identify with the minimum racial categories. Detailed data on race and ethnicity for White populations will provide insights for communities that have never received this information before on a 100% basis from the decennial census. So now, people of European, Middle Eastern, and North African heritage may now report their detailed identities and have detailed tabulations for their population groups.
I was hired as an enumerator recently. I've been through the screening and fingerprinting process but training hadn't started yet. I received an email saying the position is on hold until things settle down. Do you know if people like me are eligible to file for unemployment for a job that's been delayed like this or do you know who I can ask?
Edit: And where can we get that coffee mug in your pic?
I'm glad that you have received emails from us. We look forward to you working with us. I bought mine from an internal Census employee group.
How has the operations of the Census Bureau shifted as technology and social media developed?
One, we're talking to you via reddit which we didn't do in 2010. Our advertising and outreach strategy heavily use social media and we debut our ads on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. If you haven't already check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Hi Ron, I used census data for my masters and the influx of new information we are about to get makes me nostalgic for grad school projects.
How soon do you estimate the 2020 results will be available to download from the census site?
I'm glad you use our statistics! You can sign up for our email list and we'll let you know when everything is available or you can check out data.census.gov.
Hi, I don't feel like your counting yourself. Why is that?
I can assure you that my wife completed the census for our household!