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U.S. Census Suspends Field Operations

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Research has shown that for every uncounted Arkansan, the state will lose around $3,000 each year for the next 10 years. (Adobe Stock)
Research has shown that for every uncounted Arkansan, the state will lose around $3,000 each year for the next 10 years. (Adobe Stock)
March 20, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The U.S. Census Bureau is temporarily suspending field operations to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Federal law requires census data be presented to the president by the end of the year, and the national survey would typically end by mid-summer. But in the face of a growing public health crisis, the bureau's Associate Director for Field Operations Tim Olson says the two-week suspension will be extended or adjusted if necessary.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation," says Olson. "Every hour, every day, there's new information. But we are monitoring this actively, every day and every hour, and looking at the various options."

The suspension is slated to lift on April 1.

Arkansas receives around $6 billion annually from the federal government, and Olson points out that census data weighs heavily in determining that amount.

For more information, look online at 'my2020census.gov' or call 844-330-2020.

Across the state, more than 20 census support centers - most located in public libraries - have closed, and census-takers are turning to social media to raise awareness. Olson says households can make their jobs easier by self-responding.

"We've already received more than 6.5 million household responses, which is right on track with what our original projections were for this moment," says Olson.

He adds it should be easier than ever to complete the census form, noting this will be first time in the national survey's more than 200-year history that households have the option to complete it online.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - AR