U.S Census data could be affected by COVID-19

WATCH: U.S Census data could be affected by COVID-19

MEMPHIS,Tenn — The U.S Census is ramping up its operations amid the pandemic--that means if you haven’t completed the nationwide count, you can expect an in-person visit from a census taker soon.

FOX13 talked with a regional census manager about what precautions they’re taking to keep everyone safe and the simple steps you can take to avoid an in-person visit altogether.

With the pandemic still raging on across the Mid-South, you may have forgotten about this quick, but important survey--the 2020 census.

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This week, census field offices in Boise and Nashville sent out several supervisors to a few dozen households as the agency gears up for in-field operations visiting families who haven’t completed the nationwide survey.

“Census takers will be trained on keeping that social distancing, making sure that they’re wearing a mask, that they’re not going into a person’s household and that they’re exchanging any pen and paper,” said Michelle Archer, assistant regional census manager.

FOX13 spoke with assistant regional census manager Michelle Archer over the phone.

She said right now, the Memphis census office is open and operational but they haven’t set a date for census takers to visit neighborhoods just yet and the number of households they’ll be visiting will be determined by you.

According to a census response map, so far more than 61 percent of Tennesseans have responded to the census and in Mississippi and Arkansas, the response rate is more than 56 percent for both states.

But that still leaves millions of households who haven’t responded yet and can expect a visit from a census taker unless they take down your information on an iPhone.

“By self-responding it’s the safest, easiest way to make sure that they’re counted accurately, and it would prevent a census taker from coming to the home to collect the data,” said Archer.

Plus, she said the information is more accurate when you do it yourself.

“If it’s coming from the actual person they’re able to respond in the safety of their own home while social distancing and we get a more accurate depiction of the data in the household,” she said.

For the first time this year, you can complete the census online and it only takes about five muntes.

The new deadline to complete the census is October 31, 2020.