It’s Census Day. Responses Are More Critical Than Ever

April 1, 2020

Wednesday is recognized as National Census Day—but the process of collecting responses from Americans is going to happen a bit differently this year. Under normal circumstances, the U.S. Census Bureau would kick off the once-a-decade nationwide survey by proactively encouraging the 95% of American households who have already received the questionnaire to complete it and return their responses as quickly as possible. But due to the COVID-19 crisis, Americans will be given more time to respond. The pandemic makes the census even more critical, as responses will be used to allocate the federal support upon which states rely in a crisis.

In addition to determining boundaries for legislative districts and driving regular funding for schools, roads, and libraries, the census data helps determine the funneling of resources to hospitals and public health entities that desperately need more help treating those who have fallen ill with the coronavirus. As the survey collection process continues, the Census Bureau—like every government entity—is looking to navigate the COVID-19 crisis as effectively and efficiently as possible.

While the initial response deadline was June 30, the bureau, responding to the outbreak, pushed the deadline to July 31 and then to Aug. 14. While this date is still subject to change again, Americans have at least four months before the bureau closes its once-a-decade operation. Fortunately, it has never been easier to respond to the census online, over the phone, or by mail without ever having to meet a census taker. This year marks the first time the census has accepted online responses.

Even beyond current circumstances, census data is especially important for REALTORS®, as it helps researchers at the National Association of REALTORS® provide troves of data to members. Results allow the association to analyze demographic information, make industry growth projections, and evaluate generational housing population demands. The NAR research team also can use the results to analyze migration trends—identifying potential customers and markets—and to better understand the population of homeowners who have been affected by natural disasters.

REALTORS® are uniquely connected to their communities, and NAR is urging its members to spread the word on census participation to clients, colleagues, and their communities. Visit nar.realtor/census to access key resources you can share with everyone in your community to participate, including a template for newsletters and social media posts, infographics, and resources provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

To complete your 2020 census, visit my2020census.gov.