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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

AFL 20-20
March 11, 2020

All Facilities

2020 Census Workers: Group Quarters Enumeration

​All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary

This AFL notifies all facilities of the 2020 Census process for group quarters that started February 2020. The process affects California Department of Public Health (CDPH) licensed facilities (i.e. skilled nursing facilities, congregate living health facilities, etc.).

Residents of long-term care facilities are counted in the 2020 Census as part of “group quarters.” Census takers will identify a “group quarters administrator” and ensure that residents of the facilities are counted in the 2020 Census.

In February 2020, the US Census Bureau began contacting group quarters administrators to obtain important identifying information about their facilities to assist with the enumeration process. 

Residents of long-term care facilities have a right to participate in the 2020 Census. Patients have the right to be encouraged and assisted throughout the period of stay to exercise rights as a patient and as a citizen, and to be free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal (Title 22 California Code of Regulations, Section 72527).

The Census Bureau is legally bound to keep information confidential (Title 13, US Code, Section 9). Facilities are obligated to safeguard resident privacy and may want to have one room with dedicated space for interviews to minimize a census worker’s access to other parts of the facility.

The census worker and group quarters administrator will schedule a date and time for the group quarters administrator to conduct the enumeration, and a preferred enumeration method will be selected, as appropriate. There are five enumeration processes the group quarters administrator may select from:

  1. Electronic Response Data Transfer (eResponse) – The group quarters administrator fills in a template with group quarters data and respondent level data for each person who is staying at the facility on Census Day (April 1, 2020). The group quarters administrator electronically sends the census response data to the Census Bureau. 
  2. In-Person Interview – A census worker conducts a face-to-face in-person interview with each person who is served or staying at the facility on April 1, 2020.
  3. Drop-Off/Pickup of Questionnaire – A census worker leaves census questionnaires to be completed by or for each person who is staying at the facility on April 1, 2020. The census worker then picks up the completed questionnaires at an agreed-upon time.
  4. Paper Response Data Collection – A census worker meets with the administrator of the facility to obtain a paper listing of census response data for each person who is served or staying at the facility on April 1, 2020.
  5. Facility Self-Enumeration – A census worker swears in and trains the group quarters facility administrator and then leaves behind census materials so that the administrator can conduct the enumeration for each person who is living or staying at the facility on April 1, 2020. A census worker then returns to pick up the completed questionnaires at an agreed-upon time. Only military installation group quarters, correctional facilities, and health care facilities can select this option.

When selecting a census method of enumeration, facility administrators should be mindful of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local public health guidance regarding limiting visitors to the facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Group Quarters Administrators selecting the in-person interview option must verify the census worker’s identity.
Census takers have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Census workers may also carry Census Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo.

For additional questions, please review the documents posted on the Census Bureau website or group quarters administrator may contact the Los Angeles Regional Census Center at (213) 314-6500 to speak with a US Census Bureau representative.

If you have any questions about this AFL, please contact your local district office.



Original signed by Heidi W. Steinecker

Heidi W. Steinecker
Deputy Director

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