Census Bureau still working to ensure college students are counted


Tanat Maichan

Shocker Hall courtyard August 2017

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Census Bureau has suspended all field operations until June 2020.

Even though the field operations have been suspended, the 2020 Census Bureau is still working to gather information to provide an accurate population count.  

Currently, the bureau is working to ensure that college students are counted in the proper residence. Students will need to be counted in their college housing since that’s where they would have been on April 1. 

“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge. I will not deny that,” said Dennis Johnson, deputy regional director of the U.S. Census, when asked about counting college students.  “We want to kind of reconstruct what would normally be going on. So, even if a student [who goes] to school at . . . Wichita State goes back home with their parents, . . . we want them counted at Wichita State because that’s their normal residence this time of year.”

Johnson said the Census Bureau has already started working with college housing administrations to make an accurate count possible.

If a student lived in non-campus housing during the school year and went back to live with their parents, they will receive information as to what residence they should fill out in their census.

Johnson said that while many students are preoccupied during the COVID-19 crisis, the Census Bureau has partnered with universities to make sure that students are still aware of the importance of being counted. 

“We have a pretty robust advertising and outreach campaign and we have partnered with almost all of the major colleges and universities,” Johnson said “As a partner, they are presenting information to the students — typically through social media or other avenues to ensure that the students know that they need to be counted first of all, and then also . . . where to be counted.”

Johnson said that since the census has been extended to accommodate the national emergency, advertising will continue. 

“We’re going to continue the advertising and make sure that we reach out to everybody,” he said.