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News & Press: Updates for Members

Supreme Court Rules to End 2020 Census Early

Wednesday, October 14, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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Yesterday SCOTUS issued an order setting aside a lower court order that extended the 2020 Census through October 31, 2020, allowing the Trump administration to end counting soon. Last night, the Census Bureau issued an operations update stating that Census collection will end on October 15, 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

When does the Census end?

Self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census will conclude on October 15, 2020.


  • Internet self-response will be available across the nation through October 15, 2020 until 11:59 pm Hawaii Standard Time (HST), (6:00 am Eastern Daylight Time on October 16, 2020) Visit govto respond today.
  • Phone response will be available for its regularly scheduled time on October 15, 2020. Click here for schedule and a list of numbers.
  • Paper responses must be postmarked by October 15, 2020.
  • Nonresponse Followup census takers will continue resolving nonresponding addresses through the end of the day on October 15, 2020.

What can I do between now and tomorrow night?

  • You can still fill out the Census through October 15 at 11:59 Hawaii Standard Time (6:00 am EDT October 16, 2020) You can respond to the Census online at, over the phone by calling  844-330-2020, or through the paper questionnaire received in the mail.
  • Ask your friends and family members if they have completed the 2020 Census.
  • Send a note to your neighborhood listserv, NextDoor community, or Facebook group.
  • Ask your religious institutions, schools, and other community facilities if they can remind people to fill out the 2020 Census using their newsletters.

What does 99.9% enumerated mean?

This reflects the total enumeration rate, meaning all households counted through self-response—in which a household member fills out the 2020 Census form online, by phone, or by mail—or counted through the non-response follow-up operation when Census Bureau workers go door-to-door). According to the October 8, 2020 report, in North Carolina:

  • 63.2% self-responded and
  • 36.5% were counted in non-response follow-up (NRFU).

The 99.9% enumerated captures the total number of housing units that responded directly or were resolved during NRFU.

Doesn’t this mean most people have been counted? Why is it important that the count continue through October 15?

Only self-response rates tell us how many North Carolina households have been counted. The 36.5% of North Carolina housing units enumerated under non-response follow-up (NRFU) tells us the remainder of the housing units processed by the Bureau, but not whether (and how) they were counted.

Census workers can resolve households in NRFU in several ways:

  • Directly interview a non-responding household;
  • Use a proxy respondent, such as a neighbor, to provide information on a non-responding household;
  • Flag households as needing administrative records or statistical imputation procedures to fill in the gaps; or
  • Determine that the address is vacant or missing.

Responses collected during NRFU are less accurate and less complete than responses obtained during self-response. Additionally, we do not know how housing units counted under NRFU were resolved.

We are still below our 2010 self-response rate of 64.8% and our rate is far below the national average. This low self-response rate puts North Carolina at increased risk of an undercount, jeopardizing our fair share of federal dollars for the next decade.

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