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COVID-19 Pushes Census Field Ops To June

census officials at state capitol
Kevin Lavery
The U.S. Census Bureau says it won't begin field operations until June 1. That's dependent on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

Michigan officials continue to urge residents to submit their 2020 census questionnaire as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the U.S. Census Bureau to delay its ground game.

Here’s a ranking Michigan can be proud of: the Great Lakes State currently holds America’s third highest census response rate. 


Still, officials say more people must submit their forms by April 30 to avoid in-person door-to-door contact.


Field operations are now set to begin June 1; however, Michigan Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh says that depends on whether public health can be protected.


“We won’t know for sure when it’s safe and fully implement the door-to-door operation beginning June 1 until we get approval from Michigan public health officials, probably sometime in late May,” Singh says.


More than 4 million people in Michigan are considered “hard to count” for reasons such as economic status and language barriers. 


The state is hoping to achieve at least an 82 percent participation rate. 



Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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