CHICAGO (CBS) — This early February, signs for the 2020 Census blanketed Chicago’s City Hall and PSAs were popping up nationwide.
The message is, “Be counted.” But how can you be sure?
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory on Monday explained the tight deadline and key dates to look out for.
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When you’re expecting the Census, you can expect more patriotic pushes – PSAs that juxtapose images of farmland and lighthouses with bustling scenes of Midtown Manhattan, with messages in several different languages urging people to get counted.
Demographic data and population numbers will affect the next decade of federal funding and congressional representation in each area of the country.
So how to make sure everyone will indeed be counted?
“We completed an operation which was a door to door canvass of addresses to make certain that we have a complete and accurate address list,” said Marilyn Sanders, Chicago Region Director for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sanders’ team started hitting the streets in October. They focused in January on recruiting more employees.
February will be spent figuring out point people at shelters, senior centers, and colleges. And in mid-March, a blitz begins of 95 percent of mailboxes nationwide.
April 1 is Census Day.
“The first is an invite, and then you get a reminder card, and then you get a reminder letter,” Sanders said.
You won’t receive that familiar-looking questionnaire the first three mailings. The federal government hopes to save paper and increase response rates by encouraging participants online or by phone.
If people do not make the April deadline, Sanders said, “We have several keys dates in terms of the census.”
Another important date is May 12. That is when the Census sends in its troops by the hundreds of thousands.
Most will be out and about armed with official gear, laptops, and iPhones, while others man the lines inside.
Over the summer, you might get a visit or call after submitting your information.
“The post enumeration survey helps us to determine the overcount or the undercount of the population,” Sanders said.
The full report is due on President Donald Trump’s desk on Dec. 31.
Another important date is March 31, 2021. That is the deadline to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.