The first day of April is best known as April Fools’ Day, and, in 2020, it was also Census Day – the day that the new 2020 census is supposed to be a snapshot of.
That’s why, when you’re asked about your place of residence in the census, you’re asked where you lived on April 1.
However, the very important 2020 Census currently underway – which determines political representation and can affect federal and state funding for a community – has been hobbled by the coronavirus.
Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing, who has made the full representation of Guilford County residents a real point of emphasis over the last year, set up a giant Guilford County Complete Count Committee in 2019 to come up with ways to get everyone in the county to respond to the census. That committee was to, among other things, orchestrate a big public awareness campaign.
However, due to the response to the coronavirus, that committee has been unable to even meet as of late.
‘The Complete Count Committee meetings have been delayed because they involve gatherings,” Lawing said.
He said the response to the coronavirus has slowed the census process in other ways.
“Also, the Census Bureau has halted some of the field work they had started,” the county manager said.
Census Day wasn’t just supposed to be a statistical mile marker – it was also meant to be a day when the public’s awareness of this year’s census was raised. But, of course, no one was focused on the census that day.
“April 1 was Census Day – it kind of got lost in the activities associated with COVID-19,” Lawing said.
He also said that it’s his understanding that, despite the coronavirus, roughly half of the households in Guilford County have voluntarily responded to the new census. He called that stat “encouraging.”
He said it’s critical that those who haven’t filled out the census do so.
“There are benefits to this community that are very important,” he said.
By this point, most households have received at least two notices that the government is seeking their information.