An illustration reads '2020 Census' above a pencil with a star in the first zero of 2020 and stripes in the second

The U.S. Census measures demographics every 10 years. In April 2020, University of Kansas students will have the opportunity to participate. 

While almost everything in the United States is canceled or postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, people can still be counted in the 2020 census. College students displaced all across the nation will still be counted in the county in which they attend school.

The census is a count of every person living in the U.S. and is conducted every 10 years. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly created a Kansas Complete Count Committee through an executive order in April 2019. The committee exists to promote the census and ensure all questions from Kansas citizens about the census can be answered. Kelly appointed Student Body President Tiara Floyd to be a part of the committee. 

Floyd said she thought the current displacement of students would add to the difficulty in knowing where one would be counted.

“Luckily, on-campus students will be counted through a partnership between the University and the census," Floyd said. "This allows for basic info about the students — age, race, etc. — to be given through registrar records.”

The struggle now is that most students who live in on-campus housing have been sent home as the facilities have closed. Floyd said this should not affect how people are counted in this year’s census. 

“Those students should be counted as living in Lawrence,” Floyd said. “The Census goes off of where you have lived 50% of your time, and so, college students are counted where they go to school. Regardless of whether you have moved back home or not, you should still be counted in Lawrence.”

U.S. Census Bureau Media Specialist Paige Wilson says there are other options for students who were planning to fill out the form in person. 

If you live off-campus, be sure to respond online, use the address where you lived all semester, and include all of your roommates,” Wilson said in an email to the Kansan. 

According to a press release, this year’s census has been curated to make it easier for students expecting to fill out the census on a paper form and to lessen person-to-person contact. 

“It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker,” the press release stated.

There are a number of new options available for students and citizens across the nation to make sure they’re counted in this year’s census. These new options are in place to, hopefully, ease the minds of those concerned about coming face-to-face with a census worker amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think there was a safety concern for census workers who door-knock and collect information in person,” Floyd said. “People may not answer or be a little more closed off.” 

To take the 2020 census and for further information, go to 2020census.gov.

—Edited by Cami Koons