Stuck at Home? Take Advantage of the Time and Complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire


Worries about the spread of the coronavirus have created a major disruption in both society at-large and in our own daily lives. Policies and procedures regarding quarantining, shelter-in-place, and social distancing have left most of us sitting in our homes, leaving only to take care of the most essential needs. So, what can you do with all the extra time on your hands? If you have not done so already, I would suggest completing the 2020 Census questionnaire. In case you were wondering, although our current public health concerns have created a slight interruption in the census-taking process, they have not stopped the U.S. Census Bureau’s efforts in moving full steam ahead towards fulfilling its mission in a timely manner.

The best news of all is that, for the first time ever, the questionnaire can be completed online, at home, using your computer, phone, or tablet. You can quickly access the questionnaire by going to the Birmingham Counts! web page on the Birmingham Public Library’s website and clicking on the box at the top. Mailings that contained your unique online 12-digit Census ID were sent to most every residence between March 12 and March 20. If, however, you did not receive such a mailing, you can still complete the online questionnaire. To learn exactly what questions are asked before you start, check out the sample questionnaire on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

If you would rather complete the questionnaire over the phone with the assistance of a U.S. Census Bureau representative, you can do that from your home as well. Phone assistance is available in 13 different languages. Assistance is available every day of the week between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The phone number for assistance in English is (844) 330-2020. For Spanish language assistance, call (844) 468-2020.

A third option for you, if you like to do things the old-fashioned way, is to wait for a paper questionnaire to be mailed to your residence. These mailings will take place in April to those residences that have not yet responded online or by phone. Once you receive the paper questionnaire, you can complete it and mail it back to the appropriate address that will be provided.

It takes, on average, only 10 minutes to complete, but the impact it can have on Birmingham—and Alabama—is enormous. When there is so much uncertainty surrounding the future, completing the 2020 Census questionnaire can serve as an empowering gesture that provides every individual resident with some sense of control over the direction in which our community is moving. So, take advantage of this newly found time at home and do what you can to insure that Birmingham Counts!

Submitted by Jim Murray, Business, Science and Technology Department, Central Library

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