Start of 2020 Federal Census

Every ten years, since 1790, the US Federal government has done a census to learn the population of states and territories. For the newest census – 2020 – it has begun near the iced-over Bering Sea, with workers for the U.S. Census Bureau gathering in a remote fishing village along the southwestern rim of Alaska. The 2020 census officially began Tuesday, January 21, 2020, in Toksook Bay, Alaska which has a population of 590 (mostly native Nunakauyarmiut Indians), according to the 2010 headcount. It was estimated the population in the village in 2017 was 661.

The census bureau’s director, Steven Dillingham, came to the village on Tuesday morning to help conduct the interview with the first person to be counted for the 2020 census. By the afternoon, residents of Toksook Bay gathered in the gymnasium of Nelson Island School to mark the day with traditional Yup’ik dancing and drumming.

The first person counted and interviewed was Lizzie Chimiugak Nenguryarr. The reason it began early rather than the traditional March-April dates is that the remote Alaska region has frozen ground in January, which is easier for the census takers to visit each household.

For the 2010 census, it was the Noorvik village and in 2000 it was the Unalakleet village – all in remote sections of Alaska. It is important to these villages that be correctly counted, the numbers are used to distribute congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states, along with Federal funding of 1.5 trillion dollars for public services.

More than 120 million paper census household questionnaires have been printed for the count across the nation.

The census year of 2020 has officially started.

Photos: Maps of Toksook Bay in Alaska and the scene of the village.

Related Blogs:

Between 1880 and 1900 Censuses

State Censuses

The ‘DDD’ Schedule in the 1880 Census

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