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Census 2020 responses are due a month earlier than planned

The US Census Bureau said it'll end door-knocking efforts and stop taking self-submitted details on Sept. 30.

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Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2016test-houston-nrfu5

A simulated nonresponse followup interview in Houston during the 2016 census efforts.

US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau will wrap up its efforts to collect counting information a month earlier than planned, setting Sept. 30 as the day it'll end options that let people submit their details online, in the mail and over the phone, as well as halting its door-knocking efforts to get data in person. 

The bureau director said in a statement late Monday that the earlier timing was necessary to finish all the data processing for the count, which is a constitutionally required survey of every person living in the US, in order to meet its Dec. 31 deadline to finish. Last month, census takers began in-person interviews for households that haven't responded. Though the bureau originally planned for response collection to end July 31, the date was pushed until Oct. 31 because of the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus has complicated the 2020 Census, with the latest unexpected changes possibly risking accuracy in counting people who are hardest to reach. This year's count is also unique from those in the past because it's the first time census takers will use iPhones to conduct interviews and enter census information. 

As of the middle of July, the bureau said its national response rate for the count was about 62%.

Read more: Census 2020: Armed with the iPhone 8, canvassers are going modern

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