Politics

What You Need to Know Before 2020 Census Starts in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—The 2020 Census kicks off Tuesday in remote Alaska. U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham will be there to conduct the first count in the Bering Sea community of Toksook Bay.

Why is the 2020 Census Starting in Alaska?

With its sparse population and subzero temperature, rural Alaska can be hard to reach, and some of its villages are accessible only when the ground is frozen. So, the Census Bureau starts the headcount in The Last Frontier state by going door-to-door in January—more than two months before the rest of the nation—so it can make sure it reaches villages before the spring thaw when residents head out to fish and hunt. The states heritage is traditionally on display during these first counts. In 2000, then–U.S. Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt arrived for the first count in the village of Unalakleet as a passenger in a dog sled. This year, Alaska Native dancers from Toksook Bay will perform.

America Census Begins
America Census Begins
A woman walks before dawn in Toksook Bay, Alaska, a mostly Yuipik village on the edge of the Bering Sea on Jan. 20, 2020. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

When Does it Start Elsewhere?

Residents in the rest of the U.S., as well as the rest of Alaska, can start responding online and by telephone in mid-March. The Census Bureau plans to send out a first round of notices explaining how to participate during the second week of March. It will send up to four more rounds of mailings, including a paper questionnaire, in March and April to households that havent responded.

Will Someone be Knocking at my Door?

Only if you fail to reply online, by mail or by telephone. This is the first census in which the Census Bureau is encouraging most people to answer the questions via the internet. Around three-quarters of households will initially get invitations to respond to the questionnaire online. However, the Census Bureau realizes some communities dont have easy access to the internet, and about a quarter of households will initially receive paper questionnaires that can be mailed back. By May, the Census Bureau will be sending out workers to knock on the doors of households it hasnt heard back from.

What are the Questions?

The form asks how many people live in the household as of April 1, whether the home is owned or rented, and the form fillers age, race, and sex. It also asks if the form filler is Latino, and if so, their country of origin. In the race question, the form filler also can specify country of origin. All other residents in the household must answer, or have the first form filler answer for them, the same questions on age, sex, and race. They must specify their relationship to the form filler and if they live elRead More – Source