Virtual Chat: Impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Census

Published on May 01, 2020

In years past, census takers fanned out across Arlington to conduct the census in person and count members of the community. For the 2020 Census, everyone had the option to respond on line, by phone, and via mail. While 63.5% of Arlington households have been counted to date, there are still many others who have yet to be counted — and some may be expecting a visit from a census taker.

Due the COVID-19 outbreak, the Census Bureau is making some changes in how it follows up in order to protect the health and safety of both Census staff and the public. 

Join us on May 4, from noon — 1 p.m. for a live chat on the impact of COVID-19 on the Census count and find out how the Census Bureau and Arlington's Complete Count Committee and Census partners are working together to make sure everyone in Arlington is counted. 

Kevin R. McGowan, Assistant Regional Census Manager, Philadelphia Regional Census Center — which covers Arlington — will outline the steps the Census Bureau is taking to ensure a complete count in a discussion with County Board member Katie Cristol and Complete Count Committee Co-Chairs Wanda Pierce and Elisa Ortiz. 

Here's how you can participate in the chat:

Currently, we are in the "self-response phase," where residents can respond to the census online, by phone and via the mailed questionnaire. Answering the Census questions in any of these ways will help ensure an accurate count, and will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send census takers out into communities to follow up.  


The U.S. Census counts every resident in the nation, including right here in Arlington County. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The collected data help to determine things like the number of seats Virginia has in the House of Representatives, and how to distribute federal funds to local communities like ours.