As of Monday, March, 23, 18.5 percent of North Dakota households had returned responses to the Census, compared to a national average of 19.2 percent. Responses from South Dakota and Minnesota exceeded the national average at 21.5 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively.

In other Census news:

U.S. Census Bureau reminds to take Census online; announces operational adjustments due to health emergency

The U.S. Census Bureau continues to carefully monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.

In order to do all we can do to help slow the spread of coronavirus, 2020 Census field operations have been suspended until April 1, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.

In late May, census takers around the nation will begin visiting households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help complete the count. As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we will adjust census taker and survey operations as necessary in order to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.

Remember it’s easier than ever to take the Census.

It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker. Go online to to take the census quickly, easily and safely online.

It is also easy to take the 2020 Census over the phone seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. CST. The number for English speakers is 844-330-2020.

We’re delaying the start of our Mobile Questionnaire Assistance program.

• We plan to offer assistance with responding to the 2020 Census at events and locations where people naturally gather as part of our Mobile Questionnaire Assistance program. However, with many communities practicing social distancing, we have delayed this until April 13. That date will be re-assessed as it gets closer.

We’re delaying our Early Nonresponse Follow-up operation.

• In this operation, census takers begin following up with households that haven’t responded yet around some colleges and universities. By starting early, we can count households in areas with off-campus housing before the end of the spring semester when students may leave for another residence. We’re delaying the start of this effort from April 9 to May 7.

We are adjusting operations to make sure college students are counted.

• College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of our Group Quarters Operation, which counts all students living in university owned housing. In addition to college dormitories, the Group Quarters Operation also includes places like nursing homes, group homes, halfway houses and prisons.

• During our recent 2020 Census Group Quarters Advance Contact operation we contacted college/university student housing administrators to get their input on the enumeration methods that will allow students to participate in the 2020 Census.

• The majority, about 47 percent, have chosen the eResponse methodology and about 7 percent chose paper listings, both of which provide the Census Bureau directory information (electronically or via paper records) about each student. About 35 percent, however, chose drop-off/pick-up which allows students to self-respond using an Individual Census Questionnaire (or ICQ). We are contacting those schools to ask whether they would like to change that preference.

• In general, college students should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. For most students, this is at school.

We’re working with group quarters administrators to ensure we count their residents.

• For the “group quarters” operation, which counts people in nursing homes, college dorms, prisons and other institutional living facilities, we offer a myriad of ways to respond, such as via eResponse, paper listing or self-enumeration by the facility.

• We’re contacting all group quarters administrators that have requested an in-person visit and asking them to consider an eResponse or offering to drop off and later pick up paper forms to minimize in person contact with our census staff.

We’re working with service providers to determine the best way forward.

• We are working with service providers at emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens and regularly schedule mobile food vans to adapt plans to count the populations they serve.

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