Door-to-Door Visits Begin Nationwide for 2020 Census

Census Takers to Follow Up With About 56 Million Households Nationwide

AUG. 11, 2020 — This week, the U.S. Census Bureau began following up with households nationwide that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. Based on the current self-response rate of 63.3%, the Census Bureau estimates it will need to visit about 56 million addresses to collect responses in person. Up to 500,000 census takers across the country will go door to door to assist people in responding to the 2020 Census.

Census takers began following up with households on July 16 in a limited number of areas and added additional areas each week thereafter. Starting Aug. 9, all remaining offices began following up with households nationwide. Census takers have completed training on social distancing and safety protocols, will follow local public health guidelines, and will be required to wear a face mask when conducting follow-up visits.

“America has answered the call and most households responded to the census online, by phone or by mail,” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham. “To ensure a complete and accurate count, we must now go door to door to count all of the households we have not heard back from. During this phase, you can still self-respond online (at, by phone (at 844-330-2020), or by mailing your completed questionnaire.”

The Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) operation is the final stage of conducting the once-a-decade population count of everyone living in the United States. Households can still respond now by responding online at, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by completing and mailing back the paper questionnaire they received. Households can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more. Those that respond will not need to be visited to obtain their census response.

What Households Can Expect 

In most cases, census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notification of the attempted visit on the door. The notification will include reminder information on how to respond online, by paper or by phone. In addition, census workers may try to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview.

Census takers will go to great lengths to ensure that no one is missed in the census. After exhausting their efforts to do an in-person interview with a resident of an occupied housing unit, they will seek out proxy sources — a neighbor, a rental agent, a building manager or some other knowledgeable person familiar with the housing unit — to obtain as much basic information about the occupants as they can.

Census takers are hired from local communities. All census takers speak English, and many are bilingual. If a census taker does not speak the householder’s language, the household may request a return visit from a census taker who does. Census takers will also have materials on hand to help identify the household’s language.

How to Identify Census Takers 

Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public may contact their regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.

The Census Bureau Will Follow Up With Some Households by Phone 

In order to minimize the need to send census takers to households in person, the Census Bureau is training census takers to follow up with households by phone. Using information provided to the Census Bureau and third-party purchased data, the Census Bureau has a strong contact list for both landlines and cellphones assigned to houses on the Census Bureau’s address list. These phone calls will enable the Census Bureau to have maximum flexibility for conducting field operations, and is one more method that census takers can use to reach nonresponding households. Phone calls will be used on an as-needed basis and when in-person contact attempts have not resulted in an interview. If a voicemail is available, the census taker will leave a message asking the household to call one of the Census Bureau’s call centers.

NOW-SEPTEMBER 30th     Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) 


Representatives will visit open, public places in the lowest responding areas of the nation.  

  • More than 3,000 Census Bureau staff are going into communities with low 2020 Census response rates to encourage and assist people with responding to the 2020 Census.
  • Their goal is to help increase response rates and reduce visits by census takers to households that have not yet responded.
  • These Census Response Representatives will visit places people naturally visit when leaving home such as grocery stores and markets, food bank distribution events, laundromats, restaurants and grab-and-go eateries, unemployment offices, back to school drive events, places of worship and libraries.
  • The Census Bureau is selecting where to go based on local response rates and conditions.
  • In the interest of public health, Census Bureau staff will decide on a weekly basis, whether MQA activities will take place in each low responding county. The decision as to whether a county is eligible to hold MQA activities will be made on a weekly basis in accordance with Census Bureau protocol which is informed by local, state and federal guidance.

The local Census Response Representatives will help people complete the census on a 2020 Census tablet or on their own device, while practicing social distancing.

NOW-SEPTEMBER   Emailing Households in Low-Responding Areas 


The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will begin emailing households in low-responding areas to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census.

Millions of emails will be sent this week and then grow in numbers and continue into September. These emails supplement a final campaign reminding people to respond to the 2020 Census on their own, as census takers begin asking households to respond to the census.

The messages alert households in low-response areas that time is running out and their response to the 2020 Census is important for their communities. The email messages will invite people to respond online at

People who receive the email and haven’t already responded should click on the link provided and complete the census online. It’s easy, safe and important.

The emails will go to all households that the Census Bureau has contact information for in census block groups with a response rate lower than 50%. This will include households who may have already responded. In total, the Census Bureau expects to email more than 20 million households in these low-responding areas.

The email messages will come from and will give recipients the option to opt out of receiving future messages. The Census Bureau is also considering sending text messages to areas that have low response.

This contact method will help increase response rates and reduce the need for in-person follow-up.

The Census Bureau is continuing to review the use of text messages and will make an announcement prior to deploying that outreach. In addition to emailing households, the Census Bureau is increasing other outreach efforts during one last push to encourage everyone to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail.

NOW-SEPTEMBER 3rd In Person Group Enumeration.  


  • Group quarters that remain a part of our in-person group quarters enumeration efforts. JULY 1-SEPTEMBER 3rd 

NOW-SEPTEMBER 30th Coverage Improvement 


  • The goal is to make sure everyone in a household was counted, and to validate information provided when they completed the census questionnaire. Census call center agents began making calls on April 22. If the household does not answer a call, agents will leave a voicemail with a 12-digit ID as a reference number. This effort is set to continue through the end of the response phase on September 30th.

NOW-SEPTEMBER 3rd In Person Group Enumeration.  


  • Group quarters that remain a part of our in-person group quarters enumeration efforts. JULY 1-SEPTEMBER 3rd 



NOW-SEPTEMBER 30th   Seasonal Homes and Cabins 

  • Have a lake cabin? Vacation home?
    You DO need to complete the #2020Census for that address. If no one usually lives or sleeps at that address, answer ZERO for number of people in that household.  If you have received a Census Form or an Invitation to Respond online go to , mail the form in or call 844-330-2020. Use your Census ID or your physical address.




  • Additional Questionnaire In September we will be sending a seventh mailing including an additional questionnaire to the lowest responding tracts. Plans for the seventh mailing are being developed based on continued self-response rates and early Nonresponse Follow-up results. Also, census takers will attempt to contact some households by phone. Details for both the seventh mailing and phone contact strategy are being finalized.
  • The Census Bureau will count people living in transitory locations in September. Between September 3 and September 28, census takers will count people staying at campgrounds, RV parks, marinas and hotels if they do not usually live elsewhere.  
  • Homeless Count Between September 22 and 24, the Census Bureau now plans to send specially trained census takers to count people at shelters, soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food vans, and locations previously identified by the Census Bureau where people are known to sleep outdoors (like under bridges) and at all-night businesses (such as transit stations and 24-hour laundromats). People experiencing homelessness will be counted where they are staying when census takers visit between September 22-24. 
  • Post-Enumeration Survey interviews are set to take place September 23 to December 22. It regards Current residents of the housing unit. People living in the household who may or may not have been there April 1 (Census Day). People who moved out of the household between April 1 and the time of the interview. 



  • Self-Response phase has now been extended until September 30th. To respond online go to or call 844-330-2020. Use your Census ID or your physical address. If you have a Census form you may mail it in or you may respond online or by phone also. 

U.S. Census will now end Field Data Collection and Self-Response Options by September 30, 2020 

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