Esri Demographics

Census 2020 Self-Response Rates


As of July 13th, nearly 62% of US households have filled out their Census 2020 forms. Over 49% of those responses were made online. While off to a good start, this means there are still over 47 million households that have not yet responded. Every community is a stakeholder in getting an accurate count of their population for 2020. Around $675 billion dollars are distributed each year based on data collected from the decennial census. Numerous Complete Count Committees, outreach groups, and local jurisdictions are working tirelessly to ensure their communities are counted “once, only once, and in the right place” for the 2020 count.

To help aid in these efforts Esri is hosting six layers, updated daily from the Census API with Census 2020 Self-Response Rates in preliminary Census 2020 geography:

Access the Feature Service here

Explore Self-Response Rates in this application:

Layer attributes include daily and cumulative self-response rates for internet response and overall response (internet, phone and mail). The Census Bureau has projected a 60.5% self-response rate. They expect that over three of every five housing units that received invitations to self-respond to Census 2020 will do so.  The Census is adjusting its schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The self-response period that was originally planned for March 12th to July 31st will now be extended to October 31st. If the 60.5% mark is reached, the Bureau will still need to hire about 320,000 enumerators to go door-to-door as part of the Census Nonresponse Follow Up (NRFU) program. The NRFU program is expensive and NRFU households are often the source of lower quality, imputed or missing data.

Please take advantage of any spare time you may have during the COVID-19 pandemic to respond to the Census. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. Given the option to respond online, a longer self-response phase and millions of people quarantined at home we should be able to surpass the 60.5% response rate goal. Perhaps there is a silver lining here for Census 2020?

About the author

Kyle R. Cassal, Chief Demographer at Esri, is the lead developer for Esri’s Data Development team. His team is responsible for producing independent demographic and socioeconomic updates and forecasts for the United States. These data are leveraged across the Esri platform through web maps, infographics, data enrichment and custom applications including Business Analyst and the Living Atlas of the World. In addition to processing US Census and ACS data, his team produces unique and innovative databases such as Tapestry Segmentation, Consumer Spending and Market Potential which are now industry benchmarks.


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Carmen Durham
Carmen Durham

Thank you! Thank you! Please see the email I sent to you regarding a question I had. This beats what I had been doing.

James Wilkerson
James Wilkerson

This is a wonderful feature and will be incredibly helpful to many. I work for a local government and currently we have developed a reporting tool that utilized the Census’ API and TIGER data for 2020 proposed geographies. That data is updated at 3pm EST daily by the Census Bureau and our report is more or less “live” thanks to the API. I noticed this data, at least for Tracts, has not been updated since Friday May, 1st. Is the data not connected to the Census’ API? The description bold and underlined daily updates, so I’m just curious about this… Read more »

James Wilkerson
James Wilkerson

Checking back in to say that this morning the values were still May 1st but as of 10am appear to be now updated to the previous day. Great to see!

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