UPDATE at 2:03 PM ET - Thanks for all the questions! Had a blast talking about the 2020 Census! I'll be looking through the other questions and answering. Don't forget to respond to the 2020 Census TODAY! Here's the link: 2020census.gov

Hello Reddit, I am Ron Jarmin, the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau, and I have been working at the Census Bureau since 1992. It is April Fools Day today. But it is also Census Day, an important day that we use to determine who and where you are counted in the 2020 Census. I'll start answering questions at 1 pm ET.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/862wx15rvup41.jpg

Comments: 761 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

one_legman593 karma

Do conjoined twins count as one or two people?

Census_Bureau_USCB937 karma

If they have two names we count each of them.

FlakyRecommendation9311 karma

What do you think is the most important work that is done with the census information?

Census_Bureau_USCB469 karma

The apportionment of the House of Representatives would have to rank high. But there's lots of decisions made by the government and the private sector that effect our every day lives that are based on census data. These include distribution of federal funding for roads, schools and infrastructure but also decisions by businesses where to invest and create jobs.

BlueStoneArt300 karma

I did the Census online at the official site, three weeks ago.

But I'm still getting reminder notices to do the Census?

Census_Bureau_USCB293 karma

If you used your census ID to respond to the Census, you'll be removed from future mailings. Please disregard any mailings you get as those may have come to you after we received your response.

The_God_of_Abraham278 karma

Was the decision to make Census Day on April Fools' something that people debated internally? Did anyone discuss or estimate the magnitude of bad data generated by people deciding to have a bit of a laugh at your expense?

I mean, my hunch would be that it's an insignificant effect. But when you run a critically important, once-a-decade statistical exercise, it's a question I'd expect to be taken seriously.

(FWIW, I always complete my census forms in good faith regardless of the date!)

Census_Bureau_USCB388 karma

Census day has been April first for many many decades. I've wondered about that too, but Census Day is determined by the Census Act.

Euterpe86213 karma

What's up with the question that asks what kind of "white" you are? This seems to be new for 2020. What is the Census Bureau wanting to use this data for?

Census_Bureau_USCB7 karma

This is new for the 2020 census. Previously we didn’t have a write-in category for White or Black, but had detailed category options for other categories like Asian. Public feedback over the past decade showed strong interest from respondents to be able to self-identify their detailed racial/ethnic background, such as German, Irish, Lebanese, etc., as other groups have been able to do for the past several censuses. Providing detailed response options has allowed respondents to more accurately self-identity, whereas they otherwise do not identify with the minimum racial categories. Detailed data on race and ethnicity for White populations will provide insights for communities that have never received this information before on a 100% basis from the decennial census. So now, people of European, Middle Eastern, and North African heritage may now report their detailed identities and have detailed tabulations for their population groups.

Chtorrr131 karma

What would you most like to tell us that no one ever asks about?

Census_Bureau_USCB423 karma

I am the co-founder of the longest running coffee club inside the Census Bureau. Since the early 2000s, I’ve had over 7,000 cups of coffee – and if I get to 10,000 I’m going to retire 😉

AND

No one asks me the color of my shed... it’s green and yellow (Go Ducks!). Census Bureau address listers thought it was a housing unit, but there was no electricity power coming from it.

summbitch120 karma

I was hired by the Census and got fingerprinted, but haven’t heard anything from my district office. I know things are in flux because of COVID but is there any way I can help? I am one of the workers who actually want to work to help because of civic and national duty reasons, so I want to know what I can do to help but I realize my district may be overwhelmed.

Census_Bureau_USCB185 karma

We have suspended field activities including our hiring. Once we understand from local and federal health authorities it's okay to go back in the field your area census office will contact you. In addition to practicing social distancing, one way you can help is by letting people know that they can respond on their own without having a census taker visit them.

aubie96111 karma

Hello What's your take on "differential privacy" concerns? Now more so given the current scramble to bring appropriate resources to cities/counties/states? Regards

Census_Bureau_USCB96 karma

We take our commitment to high quality data products and maintain the confidentiality of respondent very seriously, and we’re confident we can strike a balance between quality and privacy. We’ve already been using differential privacy on our “OnTheMap” application for several years.

https://onthemap.ces.census.gov/

We’ve also recently introduced differential privacy into post secondary education outcomes (PSEO) that allows families and students to examine earnings by degree field when planning their educational decisions.

In collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, we are working with a wide range of data users to ensure privacy and quality with the 2020 Census data products.

https://www.census.gov/about/policies/privacy/statistical_safeguards.html

astmd123111 karma

How do you know when you’ve counted everyone?

Census_Bureau_USCB194 karma

The Census is address based, and once we've determined the status and pop count for every address in the country we are done. We also have special operations for people that don't live in traditional housing units. Curious about how we're doing? You can check the response rate here: https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html

astmd12377 karma

Hi Ron! As a minority and a millennial, I think the Census is probably the least talked about civic duty. Why do you think educators (both in high schools and higher education) aren’t emphasizing how important this is? Do you have any suggestions on how to relay how important answering the census is to people my age and from my community, the ones who arguable benefit most from it?

PS. Praying for your mental health because people on reddit are edgelordy and insane, hang in there during this AMA!

Census_Bureau_USCB77 karma

Millennials are exactly the age group that should see the value of the census, kind of like voting right? You are the ones who are using the services. Schools, roads and access to jobs are all really important things that come from the use of census data. We also have materials that educators can use now (even in distance learning) to educate their students on the importance of the census. https://www.census.gov/schools

mizu_no_oto70 karma

What specific protections and punishments are there to prevent the misuse of census data?

Famously, during WW2 we used the census to help round up Japanese Americans, and more recently they used the census to target Arab Americans (although those were statistics aggregated at a zipcode level).

What prevents Trump from using the census to target illegal immigrants? Would it be an impeachable offense to order the census bureau to hand over detailed records?

Census_Bureau_USCB92 karma

The Census Bureau by law does not share the information we collect in an identifiable form with anybody. My Census Bureau colleagues and I can go to jail or be fined if I willfully disclose your information. The information we collect from American households and businesses is used only for statistical purposes.

m__w__b70 karma

Are there plans to use more administrative records to assist with non-responding households due to coronavirus?

Census_Bureau_USCB75 karma

As we monitor COVID-19, we're examining how we can ensure that we get a complete and accurate census. Additional use of administrative records is one of the options we're looking at. The best thing to know though is that people can respond to the census online, by phone or by mail now. Visit 2020census.gov!

LooseAlbatross32 karma

How is COVID changing the existing plans for census taking?

Census_Bureau_USCB32 karma

We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We’re working with national, state and local health authorities as we continue conducting the 2020 Census and other important surveys. We are adjusting some operations with two key principles in mind: protecting the health and safety of our staff and the public and fulfilling our statutory requirement to deliver the 2020 Census counts to the President on schedule. Keep updated with our operational adjustments here:

https://2020census.gov/en/news-events/press-releases/update-on-2020-census-field-operations.html

kelloggflakes27 karma

We were sent census info to our PO Box and our street address. My husband filled out the street address one online. We threw the other one away. Are we going to be harassed now?

Census_Bureau_USCB38 karma

You should be good! Using your street address is the proper way to respond to the census.

fee920 karma

Hi Ron,

I tried filling out the census form earlier today. However, I am one of 6+ roommates living in a house. I don't have a clue what their biological sexes are or their origins or races. We're not particularly close, but we live at the same address. I wasn't able to fill out the census online because the online form requires that someone's race and biological sex be known. Is there a way to skip this on the paper form?

Thanks,

Census_Bureau_USCB38 karma

My daughter did this for her college roommates and also didn't know all of the information either. Fill the census out as completely as possible, but your roommates could go in and use your address to fill out the census too. Don't worry we know how to compile all of your responses to ensure a complete count for your address.

Norgeroff16 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

Census_Bureau_USCB33 karma

White and green! Too bad there's not a 2020 Census toothbrush.

rdkellogg11 karma

Will furloughed workers remain getting paid through 4/15/2020. My CSM said only until 4/3/2020? Thank You

Census_Bureau_USCB12 karma

Every situation is different - and the guidance Is evolving. You can contact your area census office for more info. You'll be notified through your regional management and email notifications.

angelaelizabethbrown11 karma

[removed]

Census_Bureau_USCB14 karma

Due to staffing adjustments driven by guidance from federal, state and local health authorities regarding COVID-19, we are working to mitigate the impact on 2020 Census call centers. In limited instances, these staffing adjustments have led to increases in call wait times, affecting different languages at different times. Testing the number can contribute to added wait time too. Thank you for continuing to support the 2020 Census. Paper forms are coming soon to those who have yet to respond.

craponapoopstick7 karma

I filled mine out online today and it was fairly quick and painless. Longest part was typing in each member of my family's specific heritage (under the option for 'White'). Why does that matter? What is the data used for? Thanks!

Census_Bureau_USCB3 karma

This is new for the 2020 census. Public feedback over the past decade showed strong interest from respondents to be able to self-identify their detailed racial/ethnic background, such as German, Irish, Lebanese, etc., as other groups have been able to do for the past several censuses. Providing detailed response options has allowed respondents to more accurately self-identity, whereas they otherwise do not identify with the minimum racial categories. Detailed data on race and ethnicity for White populations will provide insights for communities that have never received this information before on a 100% basis from the decennial census. So now, people of European, Middle Eastern, and North African heritage may now report their detailed identities and have detailed tabulations for their population groups.

oki_liam2 karma

How has the operations of the Census Bureau shifted as technology and social media developed?

Census_Bureau_USCB4 karma

One, we're talking to you via reddit which we didn't do in 2010. Our advertising and outreach strategy heavily use social media and we debut our ads on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. If you haven't already check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

LostInGeorgia2 karma

I was hired as an enumerator recently. I've been through the screening and fingerprinting process but training hadn't started yet. I received an email saying the position is on hold until things settle down. Do you know if people like me are eligible to file for unemployment for a job that's been delayed like this or do you know who I can ask?

Thank you.

Edit: And where can we get that coffee mug in your pic?

Census_Bureau_USCB5 karma

I'm glad that you have received emails from us. We look forward to you working with us. I bought mine from an internal Census employee group.

rolledupdollabill1 karma

Hi, I don't feel like your counting yourself. Why is that?

Census_Bureau_USCB15 karma

Maybe you saw this? https://www.theonion.com/director-of-census-bureau-calls-for-updated-population-1825957255

I can assure you that my wife completed the census for our household!