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 the Census important?
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. Health clinics. Fire departments. Schools. Even roads and highways. The census can shape many different aspects of your community.
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.
How do I participate in the Census?
In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online, but you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer. Responding should take less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee.
What information is needed and is it safe?
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.
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
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.
When will the Census take place?
March 2020: The public can begin responding to the 2020 Census online at 2020census.gov. Replying by mail or phone will also be an option.
April 2020: Every 10 years, we observe Census Day on April 1.
June 2020 - July 2020: Census takers go door to door to count people who have not responded to the 2020 Census. Census takers are Census Bureau employees and will provide proof that they are official government personnel.
December 31, 2020: By this date, as required by law, the Census Bureau reports to the President of the United States the population count and the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to each state.
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of temporary positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count.
Interested in applying? Click here!