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COVID-19 pushes census field operations to June

census letter
Enayet Raheem

The U.S. Census Bureau says it will resume its field operations on June 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the day when workers will start going door-to-door to interview people who’ve not yet completed their census form online, by phone or by mail.

“We won’t know for sure when it’s safe and fully implement the door-to-door operation beginning June 1 until we get approval from Michigan public health officials, probably sometime in late May,” Michigan Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh says.

More than four million people in Michigan are considered “hard to count” for reasons such as economic status and language barriers. Singh says the state hopes to achieve at least 82% participation. She cites an example of how the census leverages federal funding that impacts real people during the coronavirus crisis.

“So even recently, the state of Michigan was allocated ventilators from our federal stockpile, and in part that was based on our population," she says. "What we are facing right now is completely tied into our public health supported by our census count.”

Singh is urging all Michigan residents to submit their census form by April 30. Michigan currently has the third highest response rate in the U.S.

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