2020 Census is here!

Every 10 years, the Constitution mandates a count of “The People” in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The 2020 Census will be the 24th time that the country has counted its population since its inception in 1790. This year, invitations to respond will be delivered between March 12th and 20th, and by April 1st (Census Day) every home will have received an invitation to participate.  Participating in the census is required by law, and this year it will be easier than ever. This year is the first year to allow all U.S. households to reply through the internet, so you can respond quickly and easily online in over 50 languages.

It is important for everyone to respond because the 2020 Census will impact our community for the next decade. The census determines things like Congressional representation; it directs billions in federal funding to hundreds of programs and resources, such as our hospitals, fire departments, and school lunch programs. The census shows the government which communities need new schools, highways, buses and light rails, and health care clinics. It’s very important for there to be a complete and accurate count.

The 2020 Census will ask some identifying information, such as your name, age, phone number and race. However, this information is keep extremely confidential per Title 13 of the U.S. Code. The Census Bureau asks for your phone number is case they have questions about your response, and this is rare. You would only be contacted on official census business. Your age, gender, and race are used for statistical purposes only. Federal law protects your responses. They cannot be used against you by any government agency or court, and no identifiable information about you, your home, or your business can be released, not even to law enforcement agencies. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone in your home.  There is no citizenship question on the census, but all people living in the United States on Census Day need to be counted.

The Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails, even to request your participation in the 2020 Census. They will also never ask for your social security number, your bank or credit card number, your income, your religious affiliation, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.  Cyber criminals may try to take advantage of the census by phishing; the criminal act of trying to get your information by pretending to be something or someone you trust. Phishing emails will try to redirect you to a website that can install malware.

If you do not or choose not to respond online, you can respond by phone, or a paper questionnaire will be sent a few weeks later. If you do not respond to that, a Census Bureau enumerator will come to your house to collect the answers in person. These enumerators will never ask you for identification. If someone does visit your home, check to make sure they have a valid photo ID with an expiration date and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark. If you have questions about their identity, you can call the Census Bureau at 1-800-923-8282. If you suspect fraud, call the Census Bureau, and if the person at your door does not work for the Census Bureau, call your local police department. If you hear misinformation being circulated about the census, you can report it at rumors@census.gov. More information about the 2020 Census can be found at 2020census.gov.