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Census 2020: a timeline

information provided by the US Census Bureau

LANSING, Ill. (December 16, 2019) – Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. Though April 1, 2020, is designated as “Census Day,” there are many milestones leading up to that date:

  1. January–September 2019: The US Census Bureau spent much of this past year opening 248 area census offices across the country. These offices support and manage the census takers who work all over the country to conduct the census.
  2. August 2019: Census takers began visiting areas that have experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that the Census Bureau’s address list is up to date. This is called address canvassing, and it helps to ensure that everyone receives an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
  3. September 2019: Lansing Village Clerk Vivian Payne began forming a Complete Count Committee made up of volunteers who are people of influence in a variety of networks.
  4. October 2019: Lansing’s Complete Count Committee held its first meeting and received training and materials from a representative of the US Census Bureau.
  5. November 2019: The Complete Count Committee worked with the Lansing Area Chamber to have special “Santa Census” flyers included in the goody bags that would be distributed at the Santa House.
  6. December 2019: Committee members attended the 2019 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and reminded Lansing pastors that it is important for people of faith to be counted in the 2020 Census. Materials were provided for pastors to use as trusted voices in their congregations. Committee members were also present at the Lady of Guadalupe celebration at St. Ann Catholic Church and handed out flyers during the fellowship feast after the service.
  7. January 2020: The US Census Bureau will begin counting the population in remote Alaska. In Lansing, the Complete Count Committee will bring special “Fitness Flyers” to fitness centers in Lansing—including the Eisenhower Fitness Center, LA Fitness, and Planet Fitness.
  8. March 12–20, 2020: Homes in Lansing will receive a mailed invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. (Some households will also receive a paper questionnaire.) Once the invitation arrives, recipients will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail.
  9. March 16–24, 2020: Homes in Lansing will receive a reminder letter in the mail.
  10. April 1, 2020: Census Day will be observed nationwide and celebrated with events across the country. By this date, every home will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. By completing the census immediately, residents will avoid having census takers arrive on their doorstep in May.
  11. April 2020: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people who live in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
  12. April 2020: People who haven’t responded yet will receive a reminder postcard, followed by a reminder letter and paper questionnaire, followed by a final reminder postcard before a census taker shows up in person to request participation.
  13. May 2020: Representatives from the Census Bureau will begin visiting homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census, in an effort to make sure everyone is counted.

In December of 2020 the Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law. Following the 2010 Census, Illinois was apportioned 18 congressional seats. If the 2020 Census shows that Illinois’ population has decreased significantly enough, Illinois will lose one or more seats in the US House of Representatives.

By March 2021, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. Because federal law stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, districts are updated every 10 years based on population changes.


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.