The census and coronavirus


Bureau says filling out now more important than ever

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) Every ten years, a routine event takes place: census workers going door to door and in the community collecting data. But 2020 is going to be completely different in the age of Covid-19.

Jeff Behler, the Director of the US Census Bureau’s New York region, says they were going to start knocking on doors next month. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, that’s been called off, along with other events. 

“We had a lot of things planned with libraries and churches and community centers,” says Behler.

Behler says even though they won’t be out in the community, there are other methods to ensure you’re counted. “People can still go online, it’s a great time to do it while you’re at home. It takes about ten minutes, 2020 census dot gov. We’re still collecting over the phone,” he says.

They have 13 different toll-free lines in multiple languages, giving almost everyone a voice. At a News 8 town hall Thursday night, Congressman Joe Morelle (D- NY 25th District), says citizens completing the census is crucial. 

“It’s really important. The Constitution requires it and two-thirds of a trillion dollars will depend on those census forms being filled out,” says Morelle.

“This is money for Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps and WIC…this is money for our schools,” says Behler.

On April 8, Behler says they’ll start mailing out paper response forms for all those who have yet to reply online or over the phone. He says the coronavirus pandemic is one important example of why all need to be coutned. 

“Right now the strain on our hospitals, our professionals, our emergency services…we need to ensure our communities have the funding they deserve when they have issues like this,” he says.

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