Census Bureau Statement on Modifying 2020 Census Operations to Make Sure College Students are Counted
We are adjusting operations to make sure college students are counted.
College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of our Group Quarters Operation, which counts all students living in university owned housing. In addition to college dormitories, the Group Quarters Operation also includes places like nursing homes, group homes, halfway houses and prisons.
During our recent 2020 Census Group Quarters Advance Contact operation we contacted college/university student housing administrators to get their input on the enumeration methods that will allow students to participate in the 2020 Census.
The majority, about 47 percent, have chosen the eResponse methodology and about 7 percent chose paper listings, both of which provide the Census Bureau directory information (electronically or via paper records) about each student. About 35 percent, however, chose drop-off/pick-up which allows students to self-respond using an Individual Census Questionnaire (or ICQ). We are contacting those schools to ask whether they would like to change that preference in light of the emerging situation.
In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted as part of this process. Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. We are asking schools to contact their students and remind them to respond.
Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re working with group quarters administrators to ensure we count their residents.
The 2020 Census is designed to offer multiple ways to respond. We’re encouraging administrators of group housing to choose a way to count their residents that requires less in-person contact.
For the “group quarters” operation, which counts people in nursing homes, college dorms, prisons and other institutional living facilities, we offer a myriad of ways to respond, such as via eResponse, paper listing or self-enumeration by the facility.
We’re contacting all group quarters administrators that have requested an in-person visit and asking them to consider an eResponse or offering to drop off and later pick up paper forms to minimize in person contact with our census staff.