Census 2020: News and Next Steps


Planning Assistance in Action

by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner, with Kristin R. Fleckenstein, Director of Public Affairs, and Alfred P. Sundara, AICP, Manager, Projections and State Data Center

What’s New in Census Outreach?

Even as the landscape of COVID-19 protective measures continues to evolve and the state moves toward reopening, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is adapting to the pandemic to ensure that every Marylander is counted by:

  • Closely coordinating with local Complete Count Committees (CCCs) to identify and reach their most hard-to-count populations;
  • Partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Multicultural Team to develop language-specific messaging and provide translation services to support local CCCs in reaching those communities with language barriers. Materials and services are currently available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Taiwanese, French, the languages of Liberia, and Arabic.
  • Re-engaging the faith-community as congregations begin to hold outdoor and indoor services.
  • Continuing to work with Maryland businesses to ensure they know how important the Census is to the future of their communities and rebuilding efforts; also, engaging with them to reach their customers through social media and other promotional tools.

To recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond to help spread the word and encourage others to complete the Census, Planning has initiated the Maryland Census Champions campaign. This campaign was created to acknowledge individuals who are leaders in Census 2020 outreach efforts and are encouraging others to complete the form.

A nomination form is available on both the Planning and Maryland Census 2020 websites at planning.maryland.gov and census.maryland.gov. We have asked local CCCs for nominations, but anyone can nominate someone who is making a difference in promoting the Census. We will continue to post recipients on social media and our website. The Maryland Census Champion campaign will run through October 31, 2020. 

What are the next steps and important dates?

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the original deadlines for residents to submit their Census 2020 surveys and for the government to complete the collection and processing of data have changed. Here are some of the new dates and upcoming milestones:

  • The Self-response Period, during which people/households respond with their completed surveys via mail, internet, or phone, was originally scheduled to end July 31, 2020. The Self-response period will now remain open and responses will be accepted until October 31, 2020.
  • The Group Quarters (GQs) Response Period, during which places such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, corrections facilities (and for which the GQ administration generally submits information to the U.S. Census Bureau via paper or internet) was originally scheduled to end on June 5th, 2020. The GQ response period will now remain open and responses will be accepted until September 3, 2020.
  • The Non-response Follow Up (NRFU) Period, during which Census workers would traditionally visit households that did not submit a response via mail, internet, or phone, was originally scheduled to begin on May 13, 2020, and end on July 31, 2020. The Non-response Follow Up (NRFU) Period will now begin August 11, 2020 and continue until October 31, 2020.
  • After the various response periods close and all the data has been collected, the U.S. Census Bureau begins processing the data. This processing period was originally scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2020, but will now run through April 30, 2021.
  • Apportionment Counts, during which the total population is divided to determine the number of representatives that will be assigned to the U.S. House of Representatives from each state, are now scheduled to be completed and delivered to the President by April 30, 2021.
  • Finally, Redistricting Counts, which are population data used to draw legislative/election districts at the federal, state, and local levels, are due to be completed in June and July of 2021.

How can we track Census 2020 progress in our communities and across the state?

Anyone interested in following self-response rates can visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. Or for a Maryland specific view, visit Planning’s Census 2020 data dashboard. This dashboard, Maryland Census Response at a Glance, displays the 2010-self response rates for counties and municipalities along with daily updates of 2020 self-response rates. This is helpful for seeing how the current Census counts are progressing in comparison to the 2010 count.

The dashboard is now showing adjusted self-response rates for Worcester and Garrett counties after excluding the census tracts in Ocean City and around Deep Creek Lake. Populations tend to fluctuate seasonally in these areas due to large numbers of vacationers and tourists, as well as second home owners.

For further information on the Census 2020 dashboard, please contact Alfred Sundara at alfred.sundara@maryland.gov, and for information related to Census 2020 outreach efforts, please contact Kristin Fleckenstein at kristin.fleckenstein@maryland.gov.

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