The decennial U.S. Census has been characterized as the largest peacetime mobilization. It's a complex exercise that involves 35 separate operations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just as the data collection effort began, the nation shut down due to COVID-19.
An accurate census will drive decisions that will affect economic investments in communities in Washington and the weight of its political influence until 2031. For every 100 households missed in the 2020 Census count, the state could lose up to $5.8 million, which would affect the ability to support children, veterans, senior citizens and middle- and low-income families adequately. An accurate count of Washington's communities will ensure the fair distribution of taxpayers' funds and political representation.
In a report released August 27, 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the Census Bureau is behind on finalizing planning for efforts to reach minorities and hard-to-count populations in the 2020 census.
The Washington State Department of Commerce is initiating a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from organizations interested in helping ensure a complete count of people in Washington during the 2020 census. Proposals are due by August 24.
The Nonresponse Followup operation (NRFU) will determine the status of the nonresponding addresses to the 2020 Census. NRFU will ascertain whether nonresponding addresses have housing units and whether they are occupied or vacant. If a housing unit is occupied then NRFU will enumerate that housing unit. It is anticipated that 60 percent of all U.S. addresses will self-respond in 2020. The remaining 40 percent of addresses will make up the NRFU universe.
This program is local governments’ last chance to update the Census Bureau’s address list before April 1, 2020, Census Day. This program allows local jurisdictions to submit city style mailing addresses for housing units constructed and/or completed after address canvassing and LUCA. In addition, local jurisdictions should submit lists of group quarter addresses and transitory housing locations (such as shelters, soup kitchens, official homeless housing, and regularly scheduled mobile food vans).