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Census FAQ

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Map of U.S.What is the census?

The census is a count of every person who lives in the United States and its territories. It happens every 10 years. In early 2020, you will be asked to count everyone who lives in your home as of April 1. Responding to the 2020 Census is a chance to shape your future.

What’s in it for me?

  • Your responses inform where over $675 billion is distributed each year to communities nationwide for clinics, schools, roads, and more.
  • Census data gives community leaders vital information to make decisions about building community centers, opening businesses, and planning for the future.
  • Responding also fulfills your civic duty because it’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.
  • Your responses are used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Is my information safe?

Your responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics. They cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way—not by the FBI, not by the CIA, not by the DHS, and not by ICE.

When can I respond to the census?

In early 2020, every household in America will receive a notice to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up in person with households that have yet to respond.

What will I be asked?

You will be asked a few simple questions, like age, sex, and the number of people who live in your home, including children.

What won’t be asked?

The census will never ask for Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything related to political parties. You will also not be asked about you or your family's citizenship status.