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Assuring accurate count of college students in 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is reaching out to colleges and universities with significant off-campus student populations to help ensure they are counted in the right place in the 2020 Census. Late last week, Director Dr. Steven Dillingham sent a letter to college and university presidents asking them to provide roster information for off-campus students. This information allows the Census Bureau to count the students where they would have been staying on April 1, 2020, even if they went home early due to a school closure or shift to distance learning. You can read the letter here.

With many students having left their college campuses because of school closures before census questionnaires were delivered, the Census Bureau needs help counting students where they would have been living and sleeping as of April 1, 2020.

The Census Bureau asked college and university presidents for assistance in counting students who may not have responded on their own by sharing basic demographic information already provided to the university for off-campus students. Census Bureau staff began calling school officials June 16, and at a minimum will request full name, date of birth, and local and alternative addresses.

By having access to this information, the Census Bureau can help ensure college students are counted in the right place, including removing duplicate responses to the census or to count the student (if there is no other record of the same individual in another location). As with all information the Census Bureau collects, this personal information is protected by law.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Update Leave operation wrapped up in early June in North Dakota, and the state’s self-response numbers jumped accordingly. That climb has leveled off again, but the state still sits at 61.7 percent as of June 26.

Lincoln County continues to lead the way in South Dakota with a 74.93 percent response rate, followed closely by Minnehaha County at 72.1 percent. To view the latest response rates, please click here.

In overall self-response numbers, the nation is at 61.7 percent.

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