Census Updates in Response to COVID-19

The U.S. Census Bureau has released information regarding where students should be counted in light of COVID-19 campus closures. The Census Bureau is proceeding as if students are still at their campus (either on- or off-campus) residences, NOT at whatever residence they’ve relocated to because of these closures. 

What does this mean for WashU students? You should still be counted as though you are in the St. Louis area! 

  • Undergraduate students who live in WashU Residential Life housing will still be counted by Residential Life staff who will follow group quarters enumeration guidelines. No further action is needed by this group of students.
  • Undergraduate/graduate students who live in private housing should still be completing the Census for their off-campus address in the St. Louis area. Even if they do not have their address specific Census ID, they can still complete the Census by selecting the “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” link on the Address Verification/Log In screen. Learn more about how to complete the Census without your Census ID.
  • International students, non-citizen students, and visiting scholars should be counted at their on- or off-campus residence in the St. Louis area.

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.

Your participation is vital. The results will determine government funding for schools, hospitals, and other vital programs in your community. They also guarantee that all residents receive fair and equal representation in Congress. Census data informs important research that will shape our nation for the next decade. We can play a part in ensuring a complete and accurate count. You count, and WashU counts!  

“As a college student, completing the census is a way for you to give back to St. Louis beyond the time you spent at WashU.”

Sophomore Otto Brown spent part of his summer as a census worker. Knocking on doors in his own neighborhood gave him a new perspective and appreciation for the work that goes into a successful enumeration. Read the story.

Are you a WashU student? Complete the 2020 Census by September 30 for a chance to win $100!

Are you Ready to be Counted?

Click below to learn how you can be counted.

Undergraduate students who live in WashU Residential Life housing
  • Students who live in on- and off-campus housing secured through Washington University Residential Life will not receive personalized invitations. This includes students who live in the South 40, the Village, the Lofts, and off-campus university apartments.
  • Students will be counted by Residential Life staff who will follow group quarter enumeration guidelines.
Undergraduate/graduate students who live in private housing
  • Each address will get an invitation to complete the Census online with a code unique to that address
  • Residents of every housing unit should work together to fill out one questionnaire per household. They should include all roommates (nonstudents, too) who live and sleep in the home most of the time.
  • Students will have to ensure to include all roommates and answer truthfully, especially with regards to the identity questions
  • Housemates and roommates should be counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time
  • Unmarried partners will be counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time
  • Students that have children and families of their own that live with them must ensure that everyone in the household is accounted for
International students/non-citizens
  • International and non-citizen students living and attending college in the United States should be counted at the onor offcampus residence where they live and sleep most of the time
Students studying abroad
  • Students who are living and attending college outside the United States are not counted in the census
  • Students studying abroad should not be counted at home 
Visiting scholars
  • Citizens of foreign countries who are visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted. Visiting scholars who are residing in the United States should complete the census.
Students on leave from the university
  • Students who are currently on leave but resided in university housing for the majority of 2020 will be counted here. Otherwise, students on leave should be counted at their current home address.
Parents of students
  • Students who are living at home should be counted at their home address
  • Students who live away from home should count themselves at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if they are home on April 1, 2020

Census Timeline & Accessibility

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. There are three ways to respond:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • By mail

The Census Bureau provides translated web pages and guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print. Learn more about language support and accessibility.

The deadline to complete the 2020 Census has been extended to October 5

Census Questions

The 2020 Census is easy to complete! Here’s an overview of content covered in the questionnaire:

  • Number of people living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020 
  • Whether the home is owned or rented
  • Sex of each person in your home (this allows for planning and funding government programs)
  • Age of each person in your home
  • Race of each person in your home 
  • Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin (this is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with antidiscrimination provisions such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act) 
  • Relationship status of each person in your home

The Census Bureau will never ask for the following: 

  • Social security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers

    Learn more about the 2020 Census

    Census video courtesy of 2020Census.gov. Questions? Contact Colleen Smyth,
    Student Engagement Coordinator.