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2020 Decennial Census: What You Need to Know! 

Carolyn Angelini Carolyn Angelini Director of Resource and Postal Affairs
Katherine Gouldin Katherine Gouldin Brand Communications Associate

The 2020 Decennial Census, conducted by the federal government and mandated by our constitution is landing in our mailboxes this week! The Census is critical as it helps determine how many seats our states get in congress, shapes what federal funding looks like in your local community for schools, fire departments, infrastructure programs and so much more. It is absolutely imperative that everyone responds! 

Here are some fun facts about the census, how it will impact mailing and the effect it can have on your program. 

Impact of the Census on the USPS Mail System

  • The census contains 590 million mail pieces, making it the single largest 1st class mailing in US history.  
  • This will be the single largest 1st class mailing within a 90-day period in USPS history. The Postal Service’s previous largest 1st class mailing was for the 2010 census.
  • On Sunday, March 15th, the mail entered the Postal Service as 1st class mail in Indiana and Illinois. Continental mail traveled through the postal processing facilities to their end delivery points, while pallets were air freighting to Hawaii and Alaska to hit mailboxes within the in-home targets.
  • There were five major releases of mail for the Census series that contained the Census Package itself. Follow up letter mail and postcards have been sent to recipients that did not respond to the first mailing.
  • The in-home range for the 1st wave was the week of March 12-20th. By Wednesday, April 1st, every home will receive an invitation to participate. The follow-up mailings will be flowing until Friday, April 27th
  • This mail will impact every processing and delivery unit in the country, so we may see some isolated delays in the delivery of mail. We will keep you posted if that occurs!
  • There will be a significant amount of bulky return mail coming back to the two data centers that will be processing the paper responses (the return booklets are between eight and 16 pages).
  • The 2020 census is 20% larger than that of the 2010 census due to population and housing growth. It is being sent to 329 Million residences.

More Fun Facts

  • In addition to counting the Census Bureau as an important customer, the Postal Service has benefited from census data itself. The results of the first national headcount in 1790 helped the US determine where to establish Post Offices and how to transport mail to them. Today, the USPS continues to use census data to ensure it is meeting the needs of its customers.
  • The Census Bureau is using Informed Delivery! This is the first time in history that the marketing efforts of the census will involve both physical and digital integration! So, if the Census Bureau is using Informed Delivery…why aren’t you?
  • Filling out the census determines how many seats your state gets in Congress, and helps to be sure your local region receives its fair share of the billions of dollars of federal funding to support things like:
    • Child Care
    • Nutrition for School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
    • Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance
    • Head Start, and many more programs

There are three convenient ways to respond to the census:  Reply Mail, Phone and Online. Again, it is critical for all US citizens to respond! 

Learn more about the 2020 US Census here.

About the Author

Carolyn Angelini
Carolyn Angelini Director of Resource and Postal Affairs

Carolyn, PS’ Director of Resource and Postal Affairs, has
been serving with PS since 2016. Carolyn is from Randolph,
New Jersey and she telecommutes full-time from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Carolyn enjoys spending time with her three
kids, Crossfit, volunteering in her kids’ Cub Scout Pack and
swooning over Mid-Century modern architecture and
furnishings.
With over 24 years of experience in our industry, Carolyn has a
deep knowledge about sourcing and managing supplier
relationship across various operational areas and a significant
portion of her career has been focused on direct mail,
fulfillment and postal topics. Carolyn defines clear
expectations and she understands and conveys PS’ mission
with authentic communication and care.

Katherine Gouldin
Katherine Gouldin Brand Communications Associate

Katherine is PS’ Brand Communications Associate and she has been serving with PS since 2019. Living in Great Falls, Virginia, Katherine loves writing and reading about self-improvement topics, practicing mindfulness meditation, trying international cuisines, and learning about people’s stories. Katherine is passionate about philosophy and spiritual development, she lived in Italy for five months, and she has been skydiving twice and highly recommends it! Responsible for supporting and executing internal and external communications for PS, Katherine ensures consistent brand messaging and engagement. She supports PS leadership by writing the company Win Report and newsletters, gives a voice to the incredible work being accomplished at PS through blogs, manages social media and supports sales enablement activities. Katherine loves contributing to a mission that has purpose and makes a powerful impact.