The Coronavirus outbreak is a good reminder why the census matters

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The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire 500,000 people for 2020. (NEXSTAR)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- As thousands of homebound New Yorkers fight boredom, it may be difficult to find things to occupy their time. By now most have gotten an envelope with instructions inside about their participation in the 2020 Census.

It may fall on the wayside of people’s minds because they are adjusting to a new normal brought on by the coronavirus outbreak but the outbreak is precisely why participation in the census is vital when it determines how much a state will receive in emergency funding.

There are other good reasons why people should take the time to submit census information. A state’s representation in Congress is based on census numbers, aids in states redistricting and allows the government to assess the need for federal funding for the next 10 years.

Source: Population Reference Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau said 20% of New Yorkers have already submitted census information. Nationally, 16.7% of Americans have responded. The bureau has many positions open for census workers in New York but it’s undetermined how or when they plan to put those workers out in the field. The bureau has suspended field operations until April 1 but that could be extended.

“During this pause in field operations, the Census Bureau will continue to evaluate all 2020 Census operations. Should any additional adjustments need to be made, the Census Bureau will communicate these changes broadly and promptly,” the bureau said on March 18.

A step-by-step guide on answering census survey questions can be found here. The guide is available in 59 other languages including American Sign Language and braille.

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