COVID-19 is making it harder to check how accurate the 2020 census was


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A person wearing a mask walks past posters encouraging census participation in Seattle in April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted not only last year’s national head count, but also a critical follow-up survey that the U.S. Census Bureau relies on to determine the tally’s accuracy.

Ted S. Warren/AP


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Ted S. Warren/AP


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«We adjusted the start date and operational length as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the schedule of the preceding census operations,» the bureau said of the change to the Post-Enumeration Survey’s schedule.

About 1,100 of the bureau’s field representatives — who, like all federal government employees, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Nov. 22 — will try to interview people at some 14,000 housing units around the country while wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Some census watchers outside the bureau say they’re worried the difficulties of conducting in-person interviews during the coronavirus pandemic could limit the usefulness of the survey’s findings, which the bureau has said it plans to start releasing within the first three months of 2022.

  • COVID-19
  • 2020 Census
  • Census Bureau

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