The Census counts the population in all 50 states, the 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).
Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire - online, by phone, or by mail. This will mark the first time that you will be able to respond to the census online.
Why Is Census Important?
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community.
Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
Important Dates To Remember
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.
The U.S. Census Bureau opens 248 area census offices across the country. These offices support and manage the census takers who work all over the country to conduct the population count.
Census takers begin visiting areas that have experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that the Census Bureau's address list is up to date. This is called address canvassing, and it helps to ensure that everyone receives an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
The Census Bureau begins counting the population in remote Alaska.
Census takers begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
April 1, 2020
Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
The Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.
The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law. Apportionment is the proportional distribution of the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives based on the population of each state.
March 31, 2021
By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
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.
Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identify your home or any person in your home.
During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:
- Your Social Security number.
- Money or donations.
- Anything on behalf of a political party.
- Your bank or credit card account numbers
If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it's a scam, and you should not cooperate.
If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:
First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge (with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date).
If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.