WASHINGTON — By the end of this week, millions of households will have received an invitation to complete the 2020 census, the first one ever to rely on an online tool for most responses.
The majority of the country will get a postcard with an address-specific ID number needed to complete the questionnaire through an online portal that launches Thursday. Some households in internet-starved areas will get a paper questionnaire.
The online option represents the most public portion of a series of innovations for this year’s census. The federal government has invested more than $15 billion in the once-in-a-decade count, which has high stakes for the distribution of 435 congressional seats, $1.5 trillion in federal spending and countless private business decisions.