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It’s Census Day!

Amid a global health crisis, the need to complete the survey that determines federal funding to states is more important than ever.

By Matt Watson

April 1, 2020

MSU Denver sign against Denver cityscape.While Americans navigate closures and postponements for much of public life because of the COVID-19 crisis, one public initiative continues: the 2020 U.S. census. The count must go on.

An accurate count of Coloradans is more important than ever, as the public-health crisis has demonstrated the importance of federal funding for states, such as Colorado’s request for a major-disaster declaration, which provides the state access to federal dollars to address the high rate of COVID-19 cases. The Pell Grant and financial aid also depend on federal funding, so the census is crucial for college students in particular.

Additionally, data gathered across the state will help determine a likely increase in Colorado’s representation in the House of Representatives and electoral votes, as faculty coordinator of the census-outreach effort Ikaika Gleisberg explained in the Early Bird in March. Gleisberg, an assistant professor with Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy, and Michael Benitez, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, answer some looming census questions below.

What is Census Day?

Today is Census Day, April 1, which means most homes in the U.S. should have received an invitation to participate in the census by now. Mailings will continue through the middle of April.

“Wednesday is a day to keep the momentum going on filling out the census and not lose it,” Benitez said. “Understanding the challenges we’ve faced because of COVID-19, we need to push this work forward.”

How do I fill out the census?

For the first time, everyone can fill out the census online at You can even complete the census in one of 59 languages.

You can also complete the census by speaking with a Census Bureau representative over the phone in one of 13 languages; call 844-330-2020 for English or 844-468-2020 for Spanish.

Lastly, you can mail back the paper census if one was sent to your home. All three of these can be done from home while adhering to Colorado’s statewide stay-at-home order.

“There has never been an easier time to complete the census,” Benitez said. Even if you don’t have the paper mailing from the Census Bureau sent to your address, you can complete the census online by inputting your address.

How long will it take to complete the census?

The census consists of just nine questions, which Benitez said will take only a few minutes for a household of one or two people and up to 10 minutes for larger households.

Where can I learn more?

There are two virtual events connected to MSU Denver’s census efforts today. The Auraria Campus Complete Count Committee (A4C), a tri-institutional, student-led initiative, will host a live Q&A on Zoom from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The committee will host a Q&A every Wednesday in April at the same time and is also giving away weekly prizes and a grand prize at the end of April for those who post selfies or screenshots of themselves completing the census using the hashtag #AurariaCounts. Prizes include Amazon gift cards and COVID-19 relief packages. The committee is also working with Information Technology Services to create a hotline where MSU Denver census fellows will answer questions about the census, to be announced at a later date.

Then, MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., will appear in a Facebook Live video discussing the census with Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega at 2 p.m. You can watch live or after the event on Ortega’s Facebook page.

Topics: Access, Census, Colorado, Community, Denver, Funding

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