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March 13, 2020

100 Members of Congress, Led by Congressman David Trone, Seek Answers on Census Amid COVID-19 Outbreak


Contact: Hannah Muldavin,

100 Members of Congress, Led by Congressman David Trone, Seek Answers on Census Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 100 Members of Congress, led by U.S. Congressman David Trone (MD-06), wrote to U.S. Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham to express concern regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic’s impact on the 2020 Census and ask for the Bureau’s plan to ensure an accurate count during this unprecedented health emergency.

Starting March 12th, households across the country began receiving invitations to respond to the 2020 Census. Every 10 years, the United States Census plays a vital role in assessing the changing population across the nation and informing funding for infrastructure, jobs, and other federal programs.

Below is the text of the letter:

Dear Dr. Dillingham:

The COVID-19 outbreak has shaken our country and the global community, and we all must prepare for further impacts. As COVID-19 continues to spread, governments and health professionals across the world are shifting their resources and attention to treating and containing this destructive virus. We write today to share our concern regarding the global pandemic’s impact on the 2020 Census and ask for the Bureau’s plan to ensure an accurate count during this unprecedented health emergency.

Since its creation in 1790, the United States census has played a vital role in helping us assess our changing population. Every 10 years, census data dictates the number of representatives each state receives in the House of Representatives and helps the federal government allocate more than $675 billion in federal funding. This funding also assists local communities in building their infrastructure, creating new jobs, and establishing valuable programs. Without a thorough and accurate census, the government will not be able to evaluate and address the needs of these local communities.

In order to assess how the U.S. Census Bureau plans to proceed with conducting an efficient and effective census in the wake of this pandemic, we ask that you please answer the following questions:

1. What plans are in place to ensure the quality and accuracy of the 2020 Census in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak?

2.The social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will necessarily make it more difficult to count individuals impacted by homelessness and other hard-to-count populations. Does the Census Bureau have the resources necessary to increase the percentage of Americans who self-report without interaction from an enumerator?

3. Does the Census Bureau anticipate extending the enumeration period to accommodate setbacks caused by the COVID-19 outbreak? What would that mean practically for the count?

We appreciate your personal attention to these questions, and we look forward to receiving your response.


100 Members of Congress joined in sending the letter, including: Reps. Karen Bass, Joyce Beatty, Earl Blumenauer, Anthony Brown, G. K. Butterfield, Tony Cárdenas, Ed Case, Sean Casten, David N. Cicilline, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Gerald E. Connolly, Jim Cooper, J. Luis Correa, Jim Costa, Joe Courtney, Henry Cuellar, Danny K. Davis, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Mark DeSaulnier, Debbie Dingell, Anna G. Eshoo, Lizzie Fletcher, Bill Foster, John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Jimmy Gomez, Vicente Gonzalez, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Steven Horsford, Chrissy Houlahan, Jared Huffman, Hakeem Jeffries, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr, .Marcy Kaptur, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Ro Khanna, Daniel T. Kildee, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rick Larsen, Susie Lee, Mike Levin, Andy Levin, John Lewis, Ted W. Lieu, Ben Ray Luján, Sean Patrick Maloney, A. Donald McEachin, James P. McGovern, Joseph D. Morelle, Seth Moulton, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Jerrold Nadler, Joe Neguse, Donald Norcross, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone, Jr., Jimmy Panetta, Chris Pappas, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald M. Payne, Jr., Scott Peters, Dean Phillips, Stacey E. Plaskett, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Cedric L. Richmond, Max Rose, Harley Rouda, Bobby L. Rush, Tim Ryan, John Sarbanes, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jan Schakowsky, David Scott, Terri A. Sewell, Albio Sires, Elissa Slotkin, Jackie Speier, Greg Stanton, Haley M. Stevens, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Paul D. Tonko, Norma Torres, Lauren Underwood, Filemon Vela, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter Welch, Susan Wild, John Yarmuth

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. This week, Trone held a call with all public  health officials in all five counties to hear about what is happening on the ground and what resources they need in order to address the coronavirus. On Tuesday, he met with the Maryland Department of Health in order to coordinate support for Maryland’s efforts to rapidly respond to COVID-19. Trone’s website features best practices and information on how to find the best resources for COVID-19.