By Jon King/

The U.S. Census Bureau is temporarily suspending field operations in Michigan and across the U.S. to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Federal law requires census data be presented to the president by the end of the year, and the national survey would typically end by mid-summer. But in the face of a growing public health crisis, the bureau's Associate Director for Field Operations Tim Olson says the two-week suspension will be extended or adjusted if necessary.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation," says Olson. "Every hour, every day, there's new information. But we are monitoring this actively, every day and every hour, and looking at the various options."

The suspension is slated to lift on April 1.

Michigan receives more than $20 billion annually from the federal government, which then is filtered down to local governments through stat shared revenue. Those figures rely heavily on census counts.

Olson says households can make their jobs easier by self-responding.

"We've already received more than 6.5 million household responses, which is right on track with what our original projections were for this moment," says Olson.

He adds it should be easier than ever to complete the census form, noting this will be first time in the national survey's more than 200-year history that households have the option to complete it online. For more information, look online at or call 844-330-2020.

Public News Service assisted with this report.