US Census Bureau extends self-response phase, adjusts timelines that could affect state redistricting

U.S. Census Bureau extended the self-response phase and adjusted timelines that could affect redistricting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
U.S. Census Bureau extended the self-response phase and adjusted timelines that could affect redistricting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

U.S. Census Bureau extended the self-response phase and adjusted timelines that could affect redistricting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The U.S. Census Bureau announced April 13 that it will extend its self-response phase, pushing back its timeline of when the data will be delivered to the president and subsequently state legislatures for redistricting.

Households now have until Oct. 31 to complete the census, extended from July 31, the news release said. Individuals can respond to the survey online or by phone. The bureau also sent paper forms to unresponsive households in early April as a third way to respond to the census.

The census is a constitutionally mandated survey that is taken every 10 years to count each person where they live on April 1. Results from the survey are then used to determine federal funding allocations, government representation at the federal and local levels, and corporate decisions, all of which could have major effects on residents.

So far, 48% of U.S. households and 41.1% of Texas households have responded, data shows.

“We’re adapting or delaying some of our operations to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public and make sure we get the same population counted another way,” the release said.


With the extension of the self-response portion as well as all census operations, the bureau said it will not deliver census counts to the president by Dec. 31 as initially planned. Instead, the counts will be delivered to the president by April 30, 2021, and redistricting data is expected to be delivered to the states no later than July 31, 2021.

Texas 87th legislative session—when legislators would tackle redistricting—is currently scheduled for Jan. 12-May 31, 2021.

It was not immediately clear how the delay could affect redistricting—or the adjusting of districts that determine who represents residents—in the state.

“Once 2020 Census data collection is complete, the Census Bureau begins a lengthy, thorough and scientifically rigorous process to produce the apportionment counts, redistricting information and other statistical data products that help guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year,” the release said. “In order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts.”

The bureau intends to resume field activities, including all interaction with the public, office work and processing, by June 1. Census takers will interview households in person between Aug. 11-Oct. 31. They were previously scheduled to begin the process May 13.

For the full timeline, click here.