Literacy Offices

You Can...

  • Help adult learners understand why they should participate in the 2020 Census. What does the state and/or community stand to lose by inaccurate population counts?
  • Help learners understand how and where they can take the Census
  • Provide lessons and opportunities for learners to understand the process (in groups or with the help of tutors)
  • Download the sample Census Questionnaire to help students practice. You may read questions to students, but you should not view their personal information. Remember, you can always suggest that the student use the phone call option to answer the Census.
  • Help alleviate the fears some individuals might have about answering the Census questions

Resources for Literacy Councils

This short video, Census Help, from ODL’s Census Solutions workshop features Haley Ashcom explaining what libraries and literacy councils can and cannot do to help patrons and students complete their questionnaire.

New England Literacy Resource Center: Find videos, articles and websites for information about the Census and how to complete it. There are also lesson plans, including a timeline, for working with the literacy students on the subject of Census.

National Coalition for Literacy: This site pulls together several different official Census sites and organized them into one of these categories: Guides, how people are counted, Census jobs, teaching resources, program resources, news and advocacy.

Watch the webinar, The 2020 Census and Adult Education, brought to you by the National Coalition for Literacy.

The Census Bureau Wants You to Know...

This short video, Census Help, from ODL’s Census Solutions workshop features Haley Ashcom explaining what libraries and literacy councils can and cannot do to help patrons and students complete their questionnaire.

Paper forms – New information shows that libraries will not have paper copies of the questionnaire to distribute.  People who prefer to answer via paper (and who do not get one in the mail) will be able to call and request one.  The number will be included on all mailing materials and Census 2020 websites. It is good to remember that, in addition to offering online access to the questionnaire, we should also be offering phone and paper options when that works best for someone.

Counting people in Group quarters – The Census Bureau uses a different method to count people in group living situations, called “group quarters,” such as college student housing, prisons, military barracks, and nursing homes. In some of those cases, the facility administrator will work with local 2020 Census office staff to collect the information for the people residing there; those individuals will not respond directly to the Census Bureau.

Going to where the people are — Census employees in your area provide an extra layer of protection for everyone who participates in the Census. They have taken an oath that comes with heavy consequences for disclosure. Whenever possible, invite Census partnership specialists in your community to sit with you at library booths at any events or meetings to help answer questions. Under no circumstances should you send library staff or library volunteers door to door.

How will the online response option work?

Almost all households will receive an invitation letter in the mail with instructions for responding to the census online. The invitation will include a unique identification code called a Census ID or User ID. Using the Census ID helps the Bureau keep track of responses and prevent duplication. However, the Census ID is not required in order to respond online or by telephone. If respondents don’t have their Census ID handy, they can use their address instead.

During Census season, you should turn off the time limit on your public computers. Patrons filling out the 2020 Census will not be able to save their work and come back to it later. The entire online survey must be completed in one session. The Census website has no time limit to complete the form. However, for security purposes, if there is no activity for 15 minutes, the respondent will be logged out and have to start again. All data submitted online are encrypted. A confirmation page will be displayed after submission; there will not be an email or text message confirmation.

The online questionnaire will be available in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese [Simplified], English, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese). If respondents have questions about the online form, they can contact Census Questionnaire Assistance for support in the same 13 languages. Respondents can also complete the questionnaire over the phone when they call.

What about people who don’t live in a household?

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