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In the wake of pandemic, students still Evanston residents for 2020 Census

Students who normally would be living off-campus should respond to the 2020 census.

April 1 is Census Day, the official date that determines where you are living for the purposes of the ever-important decennial headcount in the U.S.

Northwestern University students — many of whom have returned home to pursue their studies digitally in the wakes of the COVID-19 crisis — are not on campus. But for the purposes of the 2020 Census, students who would be residing in Evanston if not for the pandemic, are Evanston residents and should still be counted at their school address, rather than their permanent address.

All students normally residing on-campus will be counted by the University, so they do not need to respond on their own to the Census, but all students who would normally be living off-campus do need to respond.

“An accurate census count is crucial to the fair and equitable allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding, including support for schools, hospitals and other community resources,” President Morton Schapiro said. “The data from it are also important to many research efforts, including work conducted by our own faculty and students.”

The notion that students should still be counted at their school address was recently clarified by the US Census Bureau in memo released earlier this month.

Students normally living off-campus should already have received a letter at your home address from the U.S. Census Bureau inviting you to respond to the Census online, by phone or by mail. April 1 is the first of many key dates for the 2020 Census year. Members of the Northwestern community can find more information and guidance here.

Northwestern is urging all students, faculty and staff who would normally be residing off campus on April 1 — including international students and visiting or international scholars, regardless of citizenship status — to respond to the Census.

A 98-plus percent 2010 Census participation rate by Northwestern University students living in on-campus residence halls, sororities and fraternities was expected to bring in almost $50 million in state and federal dollars to the City of Evanston over the last decade.

To support this effort, the University’s Center for Civic Engagement has worked with units across campus to create a special website, which provides Census-related resources and answers questions pertinent to the University community. You can also visit the U.S. Census Bureau directly for additional information.