Door-To-Door Visits Begin Nationwide for 2020 Census

Written by Theresa Rose on August 13, 2020

Census takers are now working across all areas of Iowa to visit households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census from now through September 30.

How to identify census takers?  

  • Census takers wear a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge
  • Census takers will also have official U.S. Census Bureau phones
  • To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public in Iowa may contact the Chicago Region Census Center:  312-579-1500

Under Title 13 federal law, census taker work is confidential, to protect the privacy of households responding to the census – so news media are NOT allowed to follow census takers at work.

Why is it important to respond to the 2020 Census?  

A complete and accurate count of each community ensures that community receives its fair share of representation in Congress and the state legislature and its fair share of billions in federal funds distributed each year to state and local communities for many programs, such as emergency response services, hospitals and clinics, schools, job training, roads, highways and more. Census data is important for decisions by businesses, nonprofits and all levels of government.

Who will census takers be visiting?  

Households that have not yet responded.

2020 Census response rates are updated daily on this interactive map:

2020Census.gov/response-rates  

The majority of households have already responded. In Iowa, 69% have responded – which is about one million households. That means almost one in three households will need census taker visits.

Can you still respond in your own to the 2020 Census?  

Yes – Those that respond on their own will not need to be visited to obtain their census response.

Ways for responding to the 2020 Census

  • Online – visit 2020Census.gov
  • Phone – call 844-330-2020 – phone lines are open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Central – seven days a week
  • If a census taker visits your home or calls you, please answer their questions.
  • The Census Bureau is also sending emails to low-responding blocks. The email is sent from 2020Census@subscription.census.gov. Please respond.
  • For non-English language support: 2020Census.gov/languages.

More info on census takers:  2020Census.gov/census-takers  

 What can households expect when a census taker visits?  

  • In most cases, census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notification of the attempted visit on the door. The notification will include reminder information on how to respond online, by paper or by phone. In addition, census workers may try to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview.
  • Census takers will go to great lengths to ensure that no one is missed in the census. After exhausting their efforts to do an in-person interview with a resident of an occupied housing unit, they will seek out proxy sources — a neighbor, a rental agent, a building manager or some other knowledgeable person familiar with the housing unit — to obtain as much basic information about the occupants as they can.
  • Census takers are hired from local communities. All census takers speak English, and many are bilingual. If a census taker does not speak the householder’s language, the household may request a return visit from a census taker who does. Census takers will also have materials on hand to help identify the household’s language.

Following local public health guidelines  

Census takers have completed training on social distancing and safety protocols, will follow local public health guidelines, and will be required to wear a face mask when conducting follow-up visits.

On Aug. 6, the Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control issued a joint statement stating:

Participation in 2020 Census interviews should present a low risk of transmission of COVID-19. Census takers are trained to rigorously and universally follow these CDC recommendations to mitigate risk of transmission:

  • Wearing of face masks.
  • Maintaining social distance of 6 ft. or more.
  • Practicing hand hygiene.
  • Not entering homes, and conducting interviews outside as much as possible or practical.

Census Takers Contacting Some Households By Phone  

In order to minimize the need to send census takers to households in person, the Census Bureau is training census takers to follow up with households by phone. Using information provided to the Census Bureau and third-party purchased data, the Census Bureau has a strong contact list for both landlines and cellphones assigned to houses on the Census Bureau’s address list. These phone calls will enable the Census Bureau to have maximum flexibility for conducting field operations, and is one more method that census takers can use to reach nonresponding households. Phone calls will be used on an as-needed basis and when in-person contact attempts have not resulted in an interview. If a voicemail is available, the census taker will leave a message asking the household to call one of the Census Bureau’s call centers.

About the 2020 Census – The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone who lives in the United States on April 1, 2020 (Census Day).