Letter to the Editor

Who gets counted in the census?

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Here is a sample of advice for college students and second-home owners during the pandemic which was occurring census day, April 1, 2020.


You should count anyone who is living in your home most of the time as of April 1, 2020. This includes family members, roommates, foster children, and friends. This also includes people in the hospital or even in jail temporarily who normally live with you.


Yes! It is important to count any children living in your home most of the time, including children who split their time between divorced parents, newborn babies, and other children who live with you like grandchildren or the children of friends.


No. A student's "home" is where they live while attending college. If they are not living at their parents' home most of the time, the right place for them to be counted is in the town where they attend school.


The Census Bureau's mandate is to count all residents where they live most of the time. Even if you happen to have been at your second home on April 1, 2020 due to the pandemic, the Census Bureau's aim is to count you only once, and in your primary residence. You should not count yourself as living at a "second home" on a census survey. By reporting to the Census Bureau that an address is a second home, the Census Bureau can avoid sending an enumerator to that home to verify that it was vacant.

To indicate to the Census Bureau that an address is a second or vacation home, go to: www.2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.

For the question "Including yourself, how many people were living or staying at _ on April 1, 2020?" your response should be "0" even if you happened to be in this home on April, 1. The Census wants to count you only once and at your primary address.

After two more prompts to confirm that zero people live at this address, the website will then ask "What is the primary reason why no one was living or staying at _ on April 1, 2020?" Select "For Seasonal, recreational or occasional use."

Census enumerators are out now until Sept. 30, going to dwellings not accounted for. If you self-respond, it helps because then those addresses are taken off the lists they have to investigate. We are making progress!

Thank you.

Pam Jordan, Dickinson County Supervisor, District 5

Angela Kofoot, Executive Director, Dickinson County Voluntary Action Center