2020 Census date extended to Oct. 31

More than 50 percent of North Olympic Peninsula residents have completed online surveys for the U.S. Census — and the rest now have more time to respond than was originally planned.

The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the 2020 census deadline, originally set for the end of July, to Oct. 31 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national count, taken every decade, helps determine where billions in federal funding goes and how many seats in Congress each state has.

A total of 52.2 percent of Clallam and 51.2 percent of Jefferson County residents had self-reported to the U.S. Census as of Thursday, April 16, according to Jeannie McMacken, program manager for Jefferson County.

Nationally, more than 70 million households had responded by then, the Census Bureau said in a newsletter, but the agency has slowed data collection to help protect households and employees from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

It stopped field data collection — having census data collected in person — in March, but plans to launch field offices in early June and have data collectors back out in early August.

Census takers will drop off invitations to respond in rural areas from June 13 through July 9, McMacken said.

They will follow up in person with those who don’t respond beginning in August and ending Oct. 31.

Officials and volunteers in both Clallam and Jefferson counties encourage residents to fill out their census form online so a visit from a data collector is not necessary.

Most residents should have received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau that contains an individualized code to access the online questionnaire. Those who have not received a letter or have misplaced it can go to www.2020census.gov.

Underneath the place for the code is an option to obtain a census ID by plugging in one’s address or the address of where the person lived on April 1.

Linda Benson with Clallam County’s League of Women Voters has published a newsletter informing Clallam County residents of possible scams related to the census that folks should be on the look out for.

She said the Census Bureau or its employees will never ask for your Social Security number, banking information, or enter your home without permission or identifying themselves.

The only thing residents should get in the mail from the Census Bureau is a letter with code for the online census, or a paper census if they opted in for it, or if they have not participated in the online census yet.

As for filling out the census online, residents should check that any correspondence from the Census Bureau comes from a census.gov address, including any links that may be included in emails.

If an email claiming to be from the Census Bureau ends in “.com,” do not reply to it or open any links it may contain. Either delete it or forward it to ois.fraud.reporting@census.gov.

Residents are also encouraged to contact police as well as the regional Census Bureau hotline, which is based in Los Angeles — 1-800-992-3530 — or the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-551-4636.

Census data collectors who are going door-to-door have identification with a watermark from the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as a photo of themselves with their name and the expiration date.

They will come to private homes only if residents have not responded to the census or if one of the required responses was incomplete.

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