March 04, 2020

Wyden Calls on Census Bureau to Address Impact of Coronavirus on 2020 Census

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today urged the U.S. Census Bureau to put a plan in place to ensure that the expanding coronavirus outbreak doesn’t hurt the accuracy of the 2020 Census, and to make sure the health of census takers is protected.

In the letter to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Wyden and 16 other senators also requested a Senate briefing on the status of the census no later than March 27, 2020.

“An accurate and comprehensive census is fundamental to our democracy and the well-being of communities across the country,” the senators wrote. “We urge the Census Bureau to be prepared to assess whether public health concerns about novel coronavirus are depressing census response rates, and develop contingency plans for mitigating measures to help ensure a full and accurate population count.

“Furthermore, if outbreaks of novel coronavirus occur in the United States, the Census Bureau must be prepared to provide guidance to census takers on appropriate health and safety precautions while conducting the census,” they wrote. “The Census Bureau may also need to prepare for challenges in recruitment and retention of census takers in the event of coronavirus outbreaks.”

In addition to Wyden, other signers of the letter led by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) include Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

A copy of the letter is here.