The Census Bureau is Prepared to Measure the Impact of COVID-19 on Households and Businesses
COVID-19 Lifestyle

The Census Bureau is Prepared to Measure the Impact of COVID-19 on Households and Businesses

Get counted in the 2020 Census
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You’ve probably noticed a push in advertisements about the 2020 Census online, on posters, and on TV about the importance of being counted. Now, the Census Bureau is dedicating $1.2 million to conduct the “Household Pulse Survey” to measure the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on U.S. households.

NPR originally reported the Census Bureau’s plans. And in a detailed article, it is reported that the “Household Pulse Survey,” unlike the 2020 Census is voluntary, and will likely begin being sent out through email to Americans this week in English and Spanish. Here is a sample email of what the survey could look like. Some people might even receive a text message.

The agency will reach out to people using contact information compiled from commercial data sources and government records. The Census wants to receive responses from 14 million Americans about their living experience while sheltering in place and practicing social distancing. And it told NPR that responses to the survey–combined with demographic information such as race, ethnicity, and income–could help policymakers figure out how best to get through the crisis and better understand its impact on employment, education, health, food, and housing security.

Survey questions included:

  • Are you getting enough food to eat?
  • How often have you been bothered by feeling depressed or hopeless?
  • Did you wait to see a doctor because of the pandemic?
  • How many hours are you spending teaching any children in your home?

In a later version of the survey, respondents could be asked about their spending habits during the crisis as it relates to relief funding.

NPR has also learned that the Census will begin surveying small business owners impacted by COVID-19 in an effort to best support them. In a written statement, the Census Bureau told NPR:

Close to a million businesses are expected to be asked over nine weeks to participate in the “Small Business Pulse Survey.” Weekly results from the five-minute survey are expected to be released starting in mid-May for each state, Puerto Rico, and the country’s 50 largest metro areas.

Results from the household survey will be published weekly on the bureau’s website. Results from the small business survey will follow.