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Census mail will begin arriving in mid March

The 2020 Census is quickly approaching across the nation – and now is a good time to remind everyone about important dates regarding this year’s census and how it can be completed.

Beginning around the time frame of March 12-20, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail that includes detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census either online, by phone or by mail. It is important to note, according to Census officials, mail sent to your home will not be addressed directly to anyone individual, but instead will be addressed to the “household of” or “resident of.”

“This is the first Census where you can self respond online,” explained Tia Zanghi, partnership specialist with the Census. “We are hoping the more people self-respond online, the more accurate it will be.”

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April 1 is Census Day nationwide. By this day, every home will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once your invitation arrives, you should respond for your home either online, by phone or by mail. Your official Census mail will include a code to use when you call or login online to complete your census. However, the code is not required, only your correct street address.

 “You will receive a postcard invitation … a very basic general letter,” explained Zanghi. “It has a unique code. You type that into the website and that’s how you can complete online. But you do not have to have that unique code. You can actually do it with just your address.”

Zanghi added that the invitation will have a phone number to call and complete the Census over the phone.

“After so long, you will receive the paper questionnaire through the mail if you haven’t yet completed online or over the phone,” Zanghi said.

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Other dates of note:

March 30-April 1 – Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food fans, on the streets and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations.

April  – Census takers begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers and others who live with large groups.

May through July – Census takers will start visiting homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census through mail, online or over the phone to ensure everyone is accounted for.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about $675 billion in federal money will be distributed based on the census data compiled, meaning ensuring a complete count in Coffee County is a top priority for local officials.

For those concerned with privacy, the U.S. Census is completely confidential and bound by Title 13.

Title 13 protects private information from being published and under the U.S. Code, census workers take a lifetime oath of confidentiality as well.

By law, census responses cannot be used by any of the following agencies: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Those who violate Title 13 can face a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $250,000, or both.

 “Your information is completely confidential,” reassured Zanghi. “It is protected by law. For 72 years your info is completely locked up. Whenever we submit this information to the president it will be in statistical form only”

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