2020 Census Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE DECENNIAL CENSUS?
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone in the United States. Data from the census provide the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country to support vital programs—impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. They also are used to redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and accurately determine the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO ME?
Responding to the census is not only your civic duty; it also affects the amount of funding your community receives, how your community plans for the future, and your representation in government. Specifically, data from the 2020 Census are used to:
• Ensure public services and funding for schools, hospitals, and fire departments.
• Plan new homes and businesses and improve neighborhoods.
• Determine how many seats your state is allocated in the House of Representatives.
WHEN WILL I COMPLETE THE CENSUS?
The next census will take place in 2020. Beginning in midMarch, people will receive a notice in the mail to complete the 2020 Census. Once you receive it, you can respond online. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up in person with households that haven’t responded to the census.
WHERE CAN I FILL IT OUT?
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding online, by phone, or by mail. The 2020 Census marks the first time you'll have the option to respond online. You can even respond on your mobile device. Citizens will also be able to complete the 2020 Census at one of the computers in the Corona Public Library.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL BE REQUESTED?
The decennial census will collect basic information about the people living in your household. When completing the census, you should count everyone who is living in your household on April 1, 2020.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FILL OUT THE CENSUS?
It takes about 5-10 minutes. The 2020 Census is easy. The questions are simple.
- How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020. This will help us count the entire U.S. population and ensure that we count people according to where they live on Census Day.
- Whether the home is owned or rented. This will help us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation's economy. They also help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.
- About the sex of each person in your home. This allows us to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.
- About the age of each person in your home. The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults.
- About the race of each person in your home. This allows us to create statistics about race and to provide other statistics by racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
- About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
- About the relationship of each person in your home. This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising
WHAT INFORMATION WILL NOT BE REQUESTED?
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
• Social Security numbers.
• Bank or credit card account numbers.
• Money or donations.
• Anything on behalf of a political party.
WILL MY INFORMATION BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL?
Strict federal law protects your census responses. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies an individual. Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both. No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access or use your personal information at any time. Data collected can only be used for statistical purposes that help inform important decisions, including how much federal funding your community receives. The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program that incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
DO I HAVE TO FILL OUT THE FORM?
Everyone living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census. It’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2. The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.
WHO DOES THE CENSUS BENEFIT?
The census is much more than just a head count. It provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where to build new schools, hospitals, and businesses; how federal funding is distributed; and how congressional seats are apportioned. It also helps us see how our communities have changed over time. That’s why an accurate count is so important.
WHAT DO I GET OUT OF THIS?
The results are critically important because this once-a-decade census data helps businesses, researchers, and communities make decisions. The data can help inform where your community needs a new fire department, more funding for school lunches, or new roads, Redistricting, etc.
A new school programs or materials. A new road to ease overcrowded commutes. There are many ways the 2020 Census can shape your community. The results collected once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.
Some federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties and communities are based on population.
It is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of immigration status. When you respond to the Census, you help your community get its fair share of federal funds.
- Businesses use Census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and this creates jobs.
- Developers use Census data to build new homes and revitalize neighborhoods.
- Local governments use Census data for public safety and emergency preparedness.
WHO TRACKS OUR DATA?
Being responsible stewards of your data is not only required by law, it is embedded in Census Bureau culture. Strict policies and statistical safeguards help protect the confidentiality of your information. Before releasing data products, the Census Bureau verifies that they meet its confidentiality standards.
The Federal Government tracks the data which ultimately helps drive the allocation of federal funding, about $650 Billion.
DO OUR TAXES PAY FOR THIS?
The taxes pay for the operations of the Census count.For specific questions, contact Karla Lopez Del Rio, Partnership Specialist US Census at Karla.Lopez.Del.Rio@2020Census.gov
CAN MY CHILD WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH FILL IT OUT FOR ME?
The 2020 Census takers will have staff available who can communicate in American Sign Language and additional languages. When the census taker visits to help you respond, you can request that another census taker who communicates in your language returns, if you prefer. You may also choose to have another member of your household interact with the census taker.
DOES THIS HELP THE UNDOCUMENTED POPULATION?
- Citizens of foreign countries who are living in the United States, including members of the diplomatic community, should be counted at the U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of time.
- Citizens of foreign countries who are visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted.
- The 2020 Census questionnaire will NOT include a question about an individual’s citizenship status. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has certain basic rights. The Census provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where to build new schools, hospitals, and businesses; how federal funding is distributed; and how congressional seats are apportioned. For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate. You can participate from the comfort of your home online and over the phone, or at community run assistance center. Please complete your Census questionnaire. An incomplete questionnaire may increase your chances of nonresponse follow-up by the U.S. Census Bureau. Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census beginning March 12, 2020. Your participation is vital, and your information is protected.
- The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.
- Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.
- The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.
IS THERE INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE?
Yes. For the first time, the Census form will be available to complete online in 13 languages. The Census can be completed by phone in 13 languages including Telecommunication Device for the Deaf.
HOW CAN NONPROFITS HELP?
Everyone can play a role. The Census Bureau needs your help to raise awareness about the 2020 Census and the importance of an accurate count. An accurate count is critical for communities across the country. Don't let misinformation keep your friends and family members from responding.
One of the best ways you can show your support for the 2020 Census is by making sure you know the facts. Review the basics (https://2020census.gov/en/what-is-2020-census.html) of the 2020 Census and how the Census Bureau protects your data (https://2020census.gov/en/data-protection.html) and then share these facts with your loved ones.
And if you hear false information, or are wondering whether a rumor you heard is true, please contact email@example.com.
HOW WILL THE HOMELESS POPULATION BE COUNTED?
People who are living in emergency and transitional shelters that provide sleeping facilities for people experiencing homelessness should be counted at the shelter.
The Census Bureau also has special processes in place for counting people who may be experiencing homelessness and who are staying or receiving assistance at service-based locations such as emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food van stops, and pre-identified non-sheltered outdoor locations.
HOW DO WE GET A JOB WITH THE US CENSUS?
Recruitment Opportunities are available for adults, 18 years and older. Job requirements can be viewed at: www.2020census.gov/job
HOW DOES PRISON COUNT WORK?
People who are living in any of the following on April 1, 2020, should be counted at the facility:
- Correctional residential facilities.
- Federal detention centers.
- Federal and state prisons.
- Local jails and other municipal confinement facilities.
WHO CAN WE ASK VETERAN SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO?
Question for Karla Lopez Del Rio, Partnership Specialist US Census (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WHERE CAN I GO TO LEARN MORE?
You can learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting 2020census.gov.