2020 Census Frequently Asked Questions

What's the census?

The census is the official count of all people living in the U.S. It's been done once every 10 years since 1790.

Why take the census?

When you participate in the count, you help YOUR community get federal funds for its schools, health care, roads and other vital services.

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For each person counted as part of the 2020 Census, about $18,000 will flow into our community over the next 10 years. That's broken down into $10,000 for health care, $2,600 for nutrition, $2,000 for education and training, $1,600 for housing and family assistance, $1,200 for transit and $600 for a range of other services.

What does the census ask?

It asks for information you probably know off hand for each person in your household. Things like name, sex, age, birthday, race/ethnicity and each person's relationship to the person filling out the form.

The 2020 census WILL NOT include a question about citizenship.

The Census Bureau has published the census questions - see below.

2020 Census Questions

Who gets counted?

Everybody! Children, adults, seniors – everyone counts.

How do I participate?

In March 2020, every household will receive a mailed invitation to fill out the census form online, by phone or by mail. It's a short form that takes about 10 minutes to complete.

You can find a detailed timeline for 2020 census activities here.

It'll be the first time you can complete the census online. Sign up below for a reminder to complete the 2020 census.

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Is the census optional?

If you live in the U.S., you're required by law to participate in the 2020 census - even if you've recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical. The results of the 2020 census determine congressional representation, community funding and more. 

Is my census response safe and confidential?

According to legal experts, the answer is YES, responding to the census is safe and confidential.

Attorney Kelly Percival of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, a recognized expert in census law, writes, “Federal law clearly prohibits the Census Bureau from disclosing census responses in a way that would personally identify a census respondent, including to other government agencies. Individual census responses cannot be used for any nonstatistical purpose like immigration regulation or other law enforcement. These clear, long-standing protections create a strong barrier against lawless attempts to misuse census data.”