By now, just about everyone has been contacted in one way or another by the folks at the Census Bureau. For Dewey Beach, DE residents who received a letter, email, or smartphone notification, it probably pointed out that there is a legal obligation to provide truthful answers for the every-ten-year canvass.
For those who have yet to respond, this might have provided a degree of anxiety—especially given the April 1 date that’s part of the message. But don’t worry. That date wasn’t a deadline—it was simply the Census ‘Reference Day’—the date for which the information is true. If Aunt Mabel was residing in your Dewey Beach, DE home on April 1, she should be included in the household’s headcount—even if she subsequently moved out. The stated object is “to count everyone once—only once—and in the right place.”
Some individuals randomly receive more specialized questionnaires—those can be quite detailed. If you have ever waded through the variety of publications produced from past decennial censuses, you know the amount of effort they represent. That’s especially true this year: COVID-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the works. The deadlines for responses have been extended, delayed, and sometimes suspended and extended. Field operations have been delayed, causing a renewed plea for those who are able to avail themselves of the online response mechanisms. That will keep the need for knocks on the doors to a minimum—a safety issue this year.