Coronavirus and the Census: It’s Easy to Complete the Census Form Online as Social Distancing Remains a Priority

Updated on April 1, 2020 and originally posted March 25, 2020 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Coronavirus and the 2020 Census

The global spread of the coronavirus has closed schools, slowed commerce and brought health issues to the forefront, and efforts to stay safe and virus-free are at the front of everyone’s mind.

The COVID-19 outbreak has also changed, but not stopped, the once-a-decade census required by the U.S. Constitution. In fact, it has provided the opportunity to emphasize that almost everyone can complete the census online in 10 minutes or less. The census is a way you can help your community and your family even as you stay at home and practice social distancing.

How to complete your census form

By now, most addresses have received one or more mailers with instructions for filling out the census online. They look like this. If you have not completed your census, now is a great time to do it. Find the invitation you received, go to, enter the code that is specific to your address from your invitation and fill out the short online form. Remember to count everyone who is living at your address, including toddlers and babies.

In places where online responses are less likely, the mailers also include paper questionnaires that can be completed and mailed back.

If you need help completing the form in English, call 844.330.2020. In Spanish, call 844.468.2020.

How the coronavirus is affecting the census

The coronavirus outbreak has led the U.S. Census Bureau to pause current field operations and delay the timeline for sending people door to door to count everyone who does not respond online. The more people respond online now, the less time and labor it will take to visit non-responsive addresses this summer. So, filling out your census online now will help the whole country later.

Why the census matters during the coronavirus pandemic

Counting everyone at your address, including babies and toddlers, will channel public health resources and other resources to the places that you and your neighbors call home. It’s critical that we count all kids because when kids aren’t counted, states and cities lose money and don’t get their fair share of resources to ensure children thrive.

Moreover, the last census missed young kids of color at more than twice the rate that white children were missed. Children of all races and backgrounds will grow up to build America’s future, so we must count all kids to make them a priority and to direct funding to meet their needs.

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