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How Should Latter-day Saint Missionaries Be Counted In The Census?

Many missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been sent home early or relocated due to the coronavirus. With 2020 being a census year, these missionaries and their families may have confusion about where their location should be reported as.

"If a missionary is home because their mission was shortened, or postponed due to the COVID-19, I want to make sure that those missionaries returning to the U.S. are counted in the right place. So we encourage everyone that is either a missionary or a family member of a missionary to make sure that they complete the 2020 census," said Coralys Jiménez, a media specialist for the United States Census Bureau.


She said that collecting census data for missionaries has not changed and April 1 should still be used as the reference date when reporting one's location the census bureau.

“So there is no change or difference, on how we count missionaries," Jiménez said. "The rules are still the same. Our goal is to get a complete and accurate count of everybody living in the United States. And it's it's five territories. April 1 is census day. So for missionaries, if they were sleeping and living most of the time here in the United States, they have to be counted where they were living, and sleeping most of the time as of April 1."

For missionaries who are in the country on a visa, it is also important that they be counted. 

"If they are living here, then they have to be counted. We don't use their citizenship status or visa status for the purposes of counting people in the census.”  Jiménez said.

Missionaries that are still abroad are not included in the 2020 census.

“So let's say that maybe we had a missionary from Utah that was living in Guam by April 1, so he should be counted in Guam, not in Utah.”  Jiménez said.