Getting Started

What is the Census?

Why is the Census important to me?

When is the Census? How long does it go?

Who should be counted?

 

What is the Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. It occurs every 10 years during years that end in zero (e.g., 2000, 2010, 2020).

The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in the United States 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.

Why is the Census important to me?

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. The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services. 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 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.

It's also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

When is the Census? How long does it go?

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.

In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census. 

While the period to complete the Census has been extended until October due to the current health crisis, you are encouraged to complete the questions and mail back the form. Also, you can fill out the Census form online at my2020Census.gov  or by phone.

Who should be counted?

Everyone! Required by the U.S. Constitution, the Census counts all people who reside in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.