Officials ask for extension on census due to COVID-19 | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Officials ask for extension on census due to COVID-19

Dawn Hodson / Mountain Democrat

Normally the finished census would have to be on the president’s desk by Dec. 31, but due to the coronavirus, on April 13 officials asked for an extension that would require a change in federal law.

Congress may allow the U.S. Census Bureau an additional 120 calendar days to deliver final counts that will be used to apportion members of Congress among the states and draw congressional districts.

That would mean delivering apportionment counts to the president by April 30, 2021, and information to the states no later than July 31, 2021. President Donald Trump said 120 days “isn’t nearly enough.”

As of April 18 the national self-response rate was 50.5%. In California it was 51.7%, El Dorado County 46.2%, Placerville, 53.6 % and South Lake Tahoe 22%, according to the Census Bureau.

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In 2010 the final mail return rate nationally was approximately 79%. In California it was 68.2%, El Dorado County 58.8%, Placerville 68.4% and in South Lake Tahoe 40.2%.

Census results are important in determining how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, roads and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790.

U.S. Census Bureau workers may not be out beating the bushes right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic but in the meantime, those who received a mail invitation to participate are doing so via mail or over the internet.

The deadline for self-response is Aug. 14.

For those who don’t receive mail at their homes, such as those with PO boxes, a census taker normally would drop off a packet at their homes. But because of COVID-19, those kinds of field operations have been pushed back to June 1 according to a spokesperson for the census. So people living in a rural area who haven’t received a census letter or paper questionnaire yet are asked to wait to respond.

Others who don’t receive mail at their home but who may have already called in and or provided information online using their physical address don’t need to do it again.

People are reminded that in filling out the census report they should include everyone living in the residence as of April 1.


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