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COVID-19 No Excuse For Not Replying To 2020 Census

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Sonora, CA — Mother Lode residents are about as remiss as most Californians in not yet completing the 2020 Census, officials say.

While the Census is all about numbers, these days those monitoring the replies are all about the response metrics. On the statewide level, the residents of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are leading the effort as each state is currently showing about a 50 percent response rate.

California, sitting in 27th place, is around 43 percent, which is about the same as the national response rate to date. With only 27 percent of its residents’ forms completed, Alaska is dead last, trailed only by the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, which reports less than 3 percent of its population have yet responded.

County-wise, there are some who are close to having two-thirds to three-quarters of their folks compliant. Tuolumne, at just over 31 percent response, is in a seven-way tie sharing 2,386th place out of a possible 3,202 ranking. Calaveras County is in a four-way tie for 2,827th with just over a 20 percent response rate.

Bored at home? Open the letter in that blue envelope you are required by law to respond to. In about ten minutes you can check it off your “To Do” list.

This reporter spent about ten minutes one evening this past week completing the chore online. There are not that many questions although it is surprising how many different response options Uncle Sam has to choose from for relationship partners within a household. In addition to racial categories (of which Human is not an option, unless you dare to use it as a write-in under “Other”), he also asks us to specify what our specific ethnicities are, which allowed me to type in somewhat colorfully: “French-Canadian-Irish-Slav.”

One Of The Few Things Not Cancelled By COVID-19

Unsurprisingly, Census 2020 field operations are suspended during the COVID-19 emergency. However, anyone who received communications by mail — even if they received a paper questionnaire to fill out — can enter the code associated with the address and complete the census online. There is also a phone number listed in the letter you can call to do it over the phone.

Those who do not return the completed form or handle the process online at should anticipate receiving a paper questionnaire before the end of April.

Census officials have outlined a few tips when filling out your census form. Respond using your address as of April 1 (aka “Census Day”), include all of the people who usually live and sleep at your home, even if they were temporarily away.

Make sure to count all the kiddos, even babies born on or before April 1 — even if they were still in the hospital. College students in dorms are counted by their schools but those living off-campus should respond using that address, even if temporarily living somewhere else.

While it may seem like a pain and feel a little invasive, consider it a community service that might trickle your way as census data affects how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed over the next decade for things like health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services.

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