Getting a Census Taker Visit When You’ve Already Responded
By: Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director
Census takers are now visiting households across the nation that have not yet responded. Understandably, some households that have already responded have expressed confusion over why they too are being visited. These visits are part of our efforts to be absolutely sure that we count everyone. If you get a visit and you’ve already responded, please be patient and kind and answer the census taker’s questions.
So if you’ve already responded to the 2020 Census, why might a census taker visit?
The most common reason is that we’re clarifying information about your address. You may have responded using your address instead of the Census ID printed on your census invitation. This ID links your response to your address so that we count you in the right place. We’ve received millions of responses that used an address instead of a Census ID. Some of these addresses don’t match one already on our list, so we’re following up with those to be sure we count them in the right location.
If you’re in that situation, you may in fact get two visits—one to verify the address you responded with and another to get a response from your address the way it appears on our list. We want to be sure we count everyone.
In rarer cases, we may have two addresses on our list that refer to the same housing unit. This occasionally happens if an address update we receive from the U.S. Postal Service or state and local governments is different enough in spelling or formatting that it’s not clear the address is the same as one already on our list. Out of an abundance of caution, we would include both addresses in the census. If we get a response from one of those addresses, we still need to follow up on and resolve the other one.
Finally, for a small number of addresses, we conduct a second interview as part of our quality assurance measures.
I know that being visited when you’ve already responded may be annoying, and even a bit confusing, but please be patient with our census takers—their work is critical to the mission of the Census Bureau and to your community receiving its fair share of funding for critical services. We are making sure that we count everyone in the right place and not leave anyone out.
And please don’t worry about being counted twice. By cooperating with the census taker, you’re helping us count you in the right place, and we have established methods and processes to remove duplicates. We would much rather have to remove some duplicates than miss you entirely or risk your community being underrepresented and underfunded.
Thanks for your participation in the 2020 Census.