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What is the Census?
The Census is a short survey the Census Bureau sends to every household in the country every ten years. It is required by the Constitution to count every living person in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.
Why is the Census important?
The Census is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. It helps ensure that communities are represented in their government and that resources are allocated proportionately. This is especially important for marginalized communities who, historically, have been left uncounted while communities with privilege, wealth, and resources have been overcounted resulting in a disproportionate distribution of funding and congressional structure.
Data collected from the Census is used to:
- Allocate over $900 billion dollars in federal funding annually to necessary programs such as education, health insurance, and road construction.
- Govern the distribution of congressional seats and Electoral College votes.
- Inform some of our nation’s most important decisions around funding and constitutional structure.
Everyone living in the United States at the time of April 1st, 2020.
If you’re interested in helping us get out the census, sign up here!
Know Your Rights
When it comes to the Census, there is a lot of fear and distrust about what the Census Bureau does with the information they collect, especially for communities that historically have gone uncounted and endured discrimination at the hands of government institutions. It’s important for all United States residents to know they are protected by law:
All census data is private
The Census Bureau is subject to some of the strongest privacy protections in federal law and cannot disclose census responses that would personally identify a respondent.
Personal information collected through the Census cannot be disclosed to any person, organization, or government body, including other departments of the federal government, state governments or any law enforcement.
Census data cannot be used for immigration regulation
It is illegal for data collected for the census to be used for any nonstatistical purposes including immigration regulation or other law enforcement.
How do I fill out the Census?
The Census asks you a series of questions about how many residents live or stay in your home and the demographics of those residents. One Census response is required per household. Everyone in your household is required to be included, but only one person needs to submit a response.
There are three ways to participate:
1. Online: The online response option meets the Web Accessibility Guidelines and allows respondents to navigate the form without a mouse and with assistive technology. A video guide in American Sign Language is available here.
2. By Phone: Census Questionnaire Assistance phone lines are available in 13 languages if you wish to respond by phone. You can also complete the census in English via phone that uses telephone technology for the deaf (TDD/TTY). For instructions on how to access TDD/TTY technology, visit: https://2020census.gov/en/contact-us.html
3. By Mail: Braille and large print guides will be available to assist when filling out the paper form.
To get assistance filling out the census in a language other than English, visit: https://2020census.gov/en/languages.html. 13 languages are available.
The Census will not ask a question about citizenship. Read about the Supreme Court ruling here.
The Census now includes write-in options when asked about race. You are able to skip questions but are encouraged not to.
The Census has left out questions about gender identity & sexual orientation. Only two options are provided when asked about sex: male or female You are encouraged to choose the answer that you would prefer.
Those who live in groups run by an entity or organization will be counted by an assigned Group Quarter Administer who will be responsible for counting everyone at your location. For example:
- People who are incarcerated
- People living in nursing homes
- College students living in a dorm
- Military barracks
March 12, 2020 (Delayed)
Invitations to respond to the Census begin mailing to U.S. residents. Options to respond online or by phone become available.
April 1, 2020: Census Day
April 1st provides a reference point for where you lived on that day. If you move in May and fill out the Census in June, provide the information for where you lived on April 1st, 2020.
April 8th-16th, 2020
Paper forms begin mailing to households that have not yet responded.
Group Quarters Counted (e.g. nursing homes, colleges)
April 19th, 30th, & May 1st, 2020
“Service-Based Enumeration” begins: Census employees and volunteers visit homeless shelters and communities to ensure homeless populations are counted.
May 27th – August 14th, 2020
Door Knocking Phase: Census workers begin knocking on doors of households who have not responded.
August 14th, 2020
Last day to be counted in the 2020 Census.
Undocumented Residents and the Census
What information does the Census ask for?
The Census includes some basic questions about you, the people you live with, and your home.
The Census will never ask you for:
- Immigration status
- Social Security Number
- Banking Information
- Credit Card Information
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
Will my information be kept confidential?
Yes. Every response you provide is protected and cannot be shared. Law enforcement agencies (DHS, ICE, FBI, CIA) cannot access or use your personal information.
I live in a shared immigrant household. How do we fill out the Census?
Everyone who is living in the household as of April 1, 2020, should be counted. That means anyone who is living and sleeping in the house a majority of the time must be counted. Guests with
- For more information on Queering the Census and the importance of counting our LGBTQ+ neighbors, visit One Colorado.
- You can visit: Disability Law Colorado for more information on Census accessibility.
- The Census Counts coalition website at censuscounts.org is a good resource. It includes factsheets for specific demographics like African Americans, and a census participation events calendar.
- Naleo.org/census2020 is a resource for the Latino community and includes state-specific information.
- CountUsIn2020.org is a resource for the Asian American/Native Hawaii/Pacific Islander community.
- Census.narf.org is a resource for Native Americans